Ottawa researchers to play lead role in new cancer immunotherapy studies

Posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Researchers from The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa will play a lead role in cutting-edge research on cancer immunotherapy, thanks to five new peer-reviewed research grants from BioCanRx, worth $5.5 million. BioCanRx is a Network of Centres of Excellence funded by the Canadian government and other partners. It is based at The Ottawa Hospital and led by Dr. John Bell. The new funding is part of a package of 16 grants awarded across the country worth $11 million. 

Immunotherapy makes use of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. Two of the new projects involve genetically modified immune cells (called CAR-T cells), which have shown great promise in clinical trials in the United States and Europe.

“CAR-T therapy is a new approach that has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. As with all experimental cancer therapies, there is a need to carry out additional studies to optimize the safety and effectiveness of the treatment," explained Dr. John Bell, professor at the University of Ottawa, senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and Scientific Director of BioCanRx. "BioCanRx funding will allow us to give Canadian patients across the country accelerated access to this exciting new therapy as safely as possible. We will also continue to learn how to make this treatment even better at fighting cancer.”

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