Immunotherapy, especially checkpoint blockade, typically works better against “foreign-looking” tumors, but some tumors can survive by disguising themselves from the immune system. Dr. Bell is exploring how we can make tumors appear more foreign by introducing a Vaccinia virus (VacV). VacV is designed to kill tumor cells directly while simultaneously promoting anti-cancer immune responses. Vaccinia virus has already shown effectiveness against liver cancer, and Dr. Bell aims to improve its anti-tumor abilities. By mixing up VacV’s genes and generating different strains, he is seeking the combination of virus genes that maximizes both the tumor-killing and immune-stimulating capabilities of the virus, while minimizing its ability to infect normal, healthy cells.
Our vision is to create a novel therapeutic virus that will work in synergy with some of the exciting new discoveries supported by the CRI, thus making immunotherapies more effective in a broader range of patients.
Projects and Grants
Bio-engineering an Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus to Augment the Anti-Tumour Immune Response in Human Cancers
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Canada) | All Cancers | 2016
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