What’s New In Local Oncolytic Virus Therapy?

By Cancer Foundation on September 6 / 2018

[Cancer, Clinical Trials, News, Research]Comments

Dr. Ilkow

The Cancer Foundation has long supported the work of local researcher Dr. John Bell and his colleagues, who over the last decade have made significant strides in using specially engineered viruses to treat different types of cancer. Thanks to the support of donors in Ottawa over the years, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) now has a special facility where researchers can manufacture oncolytic viruses and they have begun running clinical trials in humans to test the efficacy of viral therapies. Now, the OHRI and the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer have published new findings from Dr. Carolina Ilkow, another local scientist specializing in oncolytic virus therapy, and her team.

Through their research, they recently discovered that many cancerous cells maintain an ancient antiviral defense mechanism called RNA interference to evade destruction by an oncolytic virus, allowing tumours to identify and destroy the incoming virus in order to survive. As a result of this discovery, Dr. Ilkow and her team have now created a new type of oncolytic virus that can block RNA interference in cancer cells, and therefore work to destroy them more effectively (while leaving the healthy cells nearby intact.) They are hoping that as a result, they will be able to determine how best to use this virus in treatment, to develop more effective oncolytic viruses, and to determine biomarkers which can help them figure out which patient’s cancers might react positively to treatment.

This study was possible because of donations to The Ottawa Hospital and to the Terry Fox Research Institute, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Cancer Genomics and Immunity Fellowship and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. Thanks to the generosity of donors in the Ottawa community, the Cancer Foundation has been able to grant upwards of five million dollars to local oncolytic virus therapy in order to help researchers find the newest and most promising approaches to treating cancer. Thank you!

To view the OHRI publication on this discovery, visit http://www.ohri.ca/newsroom/story/view/1029?l=en 

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