By stojdllab, Jul 7 2015 07:19PM
A leading Ontario cancer researcher, Professor David Stojdl, has received $200,000 in funding from the BioCanRx network. This funding will support the clinical development of a new virus biotherapy to treat patients with the devastating brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
Dr. Stojdl's lab, located at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa, has developed a new approach to GBM therapy in collaboration with scientists at McMaster University and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. This approach uses cancer-killing "oncolytic" viruses as tools to harness a patient's own immune cells to fight their tumour. This immune activation is critically important, as patients whose tumours are packed with immune cells have a much better prognosis. These viruses have proven extremely safe in the brain and effective at dealing with issues that frustrate current GBM therapies.
Dr. Stojdl's project, funded by BioCanRx, will custom build a single virus designed to activate immune cell populations that are already established at unprecendented levels in the majority of individuals. Almost all GBM patients in Canada will be eligible for this therapy. The virus will also be designed to act as a beacon to guide these activated immune cells to the tumour site.
The BioCanRx program was established as a new Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) in December 2014, and is funded by the Government of Canada, and several industrial and charitable partners. BioCanRx is designed to incubate the top Canadian research in biotherapeutics, including virus-, antibody- and immune cell-based therapies, and is structured to ensure that the very best ideas funnel up through conception to testing to clinical trials in patients.