John Bell—Distinguished Seminar Series

October 31, 2016 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
GB 303
Galbraith Bldg
Toronto, ON M5S 1A4

Oncolytic Viruses: Replicating Biological Machines for the Treatment of Cancer

Dr John Bell

John C. Bell, PhD, FRSC

Senior Scientist, Centre for Innovative Cancer Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Professor, Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, University of Ottawa


The development of oncolytic viruses (OVs) for the treatment of cancer has been under development in earnest for the last two decades and recently an engineered herpes virus, called Imlygic, has been approved for the treatment of advanced melanoma.

Our group has focussed on the development of OVs based on the pox and rhabdovirus families. We have found that these viruses attack tumours in multiple different ways including direct tumour lysis, anti-vascular activity and perhaps most important, stimulation of anti-tumour immunity.

Examples of each of these types of activity from our experience in the laboratory and in the clinic will be presented.

Speaker Biography

Dr. John Bell received his PhD from McMaster University in 1982. The three years that followed, he trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and then at the Medical Research Council in London, England.

Dr. Bell began his independent research career at McGill University in 1986 and moved to the University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine, in 1989.

He is a member of the Center for Cancer Therapeutics at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Center, a Senior Scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

He heads the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, a Terry Fox funded group from across Canada that is developing virus based cancer therapeutics and is the Director of the Biotherapeutics Program for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. He is the Scientific Director of the recently awarded National Centre of Excellence for the development of Biotherapeutics for Cancer Therapy and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.