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MEMBERSHIP  ::  Meet the Microbiologist

Meet the Microbiologist

Enhancing immunogenic cancer cell death using oncolytic viruses

The immune system can potently contribute to the efficacy of cancer therapies. However, many tumours are non-immunogenic and immunosuppressive. Recent studies suggest that how a cancer cell dies contributes to therapy success rates. In response to treatment, some tumours undergo immunogenic cell death (ICD), which leads to accumulation of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and correlates with survival of cancer patients. Only a handful of stimuli trigger bona fide ICD, including chemotherapies, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and some oncolytic viruses (OVs). An intriguing idea is that induction of a viral response gene expression program may be a general requisite of ICD. Since some tumours are less immunogenic than others, new approaches combining ICD-inducing modalities hold great promise. The current aim is to determine novel ways in which oncolytic viruses can be administered to enhance immunogenic cancer cell death.

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Ashley Ross

I am a first year PhD student at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph). Under the co-supervision of Drs. Sarah Wootton and Byram Bridle I am studying oncolytic viruses to create cancer immunotherapies. We are interested in determining how the administration of Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Newcastle disease virus (NDV), and Vaccinia virus (VV) influence leukocyte counts, as well as the factors that result in leukopenia. Additionally, we are focussing on viral treatments that reduce tumour size and result in immunological memory to prevent patient relapse. The ultimate goal of our collaborative team is to create novel therapies with fewer side effects to improve the health outcomes of cancer patients.

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Contact Information
Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph
PAHL 4831, Ontario Veterinary College
Guelph,  N1G 2W1
(519) 824-4120 ext.54733

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