Newsroom

News Release

Information for cancer patients about oncolytic virus therapy

January 28, 2014

In 2011, researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and other institutions published results of a small clinical trial on an oncolytic virus therapy for cancer. (For details, please see our media release or the paper published in Nature.) Due to the continuing and large amount of interest in oncolytic virus therapy, we are providing additional information about this therapeutic approach.

3 Important Facts about Oncolytic Virus Therapy

  • It is still considered experimental and therefore is not available for general use.
  • It is only available through clinical trials, which have very specific eligibility criteria.
  • Various types of oncolytic virus are currently in clinical trials.

If you are interested in clinical trials of oncolytic viruses or other experimental therapies, the best approach is to discuss this with your own cancer specialist (oncologist). You and your oncologist can find details about ongoing and upcoming clinical trials around the world at www.clinicaltrials.gov. This website is searchable by disease, location, treatment etc. If you are interested in oncolytic viruses specifically, try using search terms such as “oncolytic virus” and “cancer virus.”

On a special note, we recognize the profound sense of urgency that you and those close to you are experiencing, and we are working as urgently as we can to make promising new cancer therapies more widely available. Although clinical trials require a lot of time and often only accept a small number of patients, they are the only way to develop safe and effective new therapies. We cannot provide experimental therapies outside of approved clinical trials. We thank you for your interest in and continued support of our research.

The table below provides information regarding oncolytic virus trials that are currently open at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre. We cannot provide experimental therapies outside of approved clinical trials.







Oncolytic Virus Clinical Trials at The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre

* Please discuss details of eligibility with your oncologist *
* We are not accepting out-of-province patients for the trials listed below *


Breast cancer


Reolysin trial for patients with advanced/metastatic breast cancer.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the side effects of Reolysin when given in combination with paclitaxel.

Eligibility and other details

For more information on this trial, including participating centres and some of the eligibility requirements, please consult the details available at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01656538).

Please read the ‘Important Notes’ below.

Colorectal cancer


Reolysin trial for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.

The purpose of this study is to find out if Reolysin in combination with FOLFOX6/bevacizumab can offer better results than standard therapy with FOLFOX6/bevacizumab.

Eligibility and other details

For more information on this trial, including participating centres and some of the eligibility requirements, please consult the details available at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01622543).

Please read the ‘Important Notes’ below.

Lung cancer


Reolysin trial for patients with previously treated advanced or metastatic, non-small-cell lung cancer who are receiving standard salvage therapy.

The purpose of this study is to find out if Reolysin in combination with docetaxel or pemetrexed can offer better results than standard therapy with docetaxel or pemetrexed alone.

Eligibility and other details

For more information on this trial, including participating centres and some of the eligibility requirements, please consult the details available at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01708993).

Please read the ‘Important Notes’ below.

Prostate cancer


Reolysin trial for patients with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer.

The purpose of this study is to find out if Reolysin in combination with docetaxel and prednisone can offer better results than standard therapy with docetaxel and prednisone.

Eligibility and other details

For more information on this trial, including participating centres and some of the eligibility requirements, please consult the details available at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01619813).

Please read the ‘Important Notes’ below.


Important Notes


We are not accepting out-of-province patients for the trials listed above.

Eligibility does not guarantee access:
  • Clinical trials have limited available spaces.
Residency requirement:
  • All participants in the clinical trials listed on this page are required to reside in the Ottawa area because they must visit The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre very frequently.
We cannot provide experimental therapies outside of approved clinical trials.


More about clinical trials


For more information about clinical trials and what is involved in participating in a clinical trial, please see our Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Research.


If you think you are eligible


You can only request access to an oncolytic virus clinical trial at The Ottawa Hospital if:
  1. your oncologist thinks you meet the trial’s eligibility requirements,
  2. you have valid Ontario health coverage, and
  3. you meet the residency requirement (see Important Notes, item 3).
If you can answer yes to these three criteria, the next step is for your oncologist to send a consult (or referral).