The University of Ottawa and The Ottawa Hospital launch new cancer immunotherapy research projects

BioCanRx, Canada’s Immunotherapy Network, today announced funding of $10M for 14 cancer immunotherapy research projects and eight core and biomanufacturing facilities across the country. Researchers at the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) and The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) are playing a key role in the following seven projects:

Development of a virally programmed exosome-based cancer vaccine platform

  • Principal Investigators from uOttawa/TOH: Carolina Ilkow, John Bell
  • Other Principal Investigators: Brian Lichty (McMaster University)
  • Funding ($2,311,500, including $616,500 from BioCanRx)

Development of Supporting Analytical Assays and Regulatory Compliance Package for Viral Sensitizer Technology Commercialization

Clinical Trial Enabling Studies for Multi-targeted Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapeutics for the treatment of B-Cell Malignancies

Using real-world data and iterative economic evaluation to prioritize resource allocation for care and research in adult patients with relapsed/refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Identifying effect modifiers for CAR-T cell therapeutic efficacy

Making Patient Partnerships A Reality in Very Early Phase Clinical Trials (MARVEL): Development of a Patient Engagement Platform

COV-IMMUNO- A randomized phase III trial of vaccination with IMM-101 versus observation for the prevention of serious respiratory and COVID-19 related infections in cancer patients

“We’re collaborating and building teams across Canada to find new ways for the body’s immune system to outsmart and kill cancer,” said Dr. John Bell, Scientific Director of BioCanRx, professor at uOttawa and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital. “This new funding is helping to bridge the research gap between lab discoveries and clinical trials to ultimately benefit patients.”

BioCanRx is funded through the federal government’s Networks of Centres of Excellence Program. In addition to the $10M BioCanRx investment announced today, matching contributions of $16.5M from partners increase the total investment in Canadian translational cancer immunotherapy research and manufacturing facilities to $26.5M.

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is providing matching funds for several of the projects, in the form of startup-funds for new scientists and support for core research resources such as the Ottawa Methods Centre, the Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre and ICES uOttawa.

“We are proud to host the BioCanRx network at The Ottawa Hospital,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, professor at uOttawa and Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital. “Working together, we are providing crucial support for groundbreaking cancer immunotherapy research that could transform care and save lives. This wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our donors, through The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.”


Spleen showing B cells and T cells


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