Kudos for March 2012


Dr. John Bell and his team have discovered a novel cancer-fighting virus called ORF virus. The virus is known to cause skin infections in goats and sheep, but it does not typically infect humans. ORF virus stimulates the host immune system in unique ways and has a unique ability to replicate in wounds, which have similarities to tumours. The team has shown that ORF virus can exert powerful anti-tumour effects in a number of mouse models of cancer, and in human cancer cells in culture.

Dr. Rebecca Auer works closely with Dr. John Bell and has just received a $200,000 grant from the Canadian Cancer Society:  Oncolytic viruses for perioperative targeting of natural killer cells in cancer. Essential cancer surgery can sometimes promote the spread of cancer by suppressing the body’s immune system, including Natural Killer (NK) cells. Dr Auer aims to better understand why these NK cells get suppressed and importantly how to reverse the effect using oncolytic virus therapy given around the time of surgery to stimulate the immune system and prevent the spread of cancer cells.

Surgeon Dr. Don Chow praised the Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre when telling his motorcycle accident story at Hopes and Heroes dinner on February 21st. The event, co-hosted by The Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Senators Alumni, raised more than $45,000 for the Rehab Centre.


Dr. Virginia Roth interviewed by CTV and CBC and various radio stations in regards to the norovirus outbreak at The Ottawa Hospital.  At the time of the interviews (Feb 24th) there were 46 hospital employees and 14 patients infected by the virus. The virus was evident primarily in cardiology and kidney disease units.

Dr. Malcolm Hing and Dr. Shawn Marshall were featured in the February 11th Toronto Star in a front page article of the weekend edition on “Driving and Dementia”. They discussed their Candrive initiative which has enrolled 1000 drivers aged 70 and over and they hope to have the first science-based tool to diagnose drivers with dementia. They use a GPS system that monitors subjects’ driving.

Dr. Arthur Leader interviewed by Global TV for a special show on infertility. Dr. Leader discussed a model he developed that incorporates dozens of patient characteristics and statistics to predict the risk of getting pregnant with twins after the transfer of multiple embryos.

Dr. Alan Tinmouth interviewed by CBC Ottawa Morning (March 1st)  about the cutting of the Sickle Cell Clinic in Ottawa.


Dr. Jonathan Angel and colleagues published a systematic review that could save many people with HIV from having to take unnecessary antibiotics associated with major side-effects. His research showed that when viral levels are suppressed, it is safe to stop taking antibiotics to prevent pneumonia, even if there has not been an adequate improvement in immune function as measured by CD4 count.  The research could change the current clinical guidelines which recommend a higher CD4 threshold and don’t take viral levels into account. This could improve health and quality of life for those with HIV and also save money for individuals and the health care system. See PLoS for details.


Dr. John Bell received a $968,000 CIHR grant for industry-partnered collaborative research focusing on the development of oncolytic viruses for the treatment of cancer.

Dr. Ed Lemaire has been awarded a $368,000 grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and Research in Motion (RIM) to develop a wearable mobility monitoring device for people with disabilities. The device takes advantage of accelerometer, GPS, video and imaging technologies that are already built into RIM smart phones and combine this with custom sensors and software to rigorously monitor a patient’s movement and environment during regular daily activities.

45 stem cell researchers involved in Dr. Duncan Stewart’s project: Cardiovascular Repair using Enhanced Stem Cell Therapy (CREST) met in Ottawa mid-February to discuss their latest work in developing stem cell therapies for cardiovascular disease.


Dr. Ruth Ellen has been recognized by the Medical Staff in conjunction with the Engagement Steering Committee with a ‘Professionalism Award.”