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News Release

Innovative cancer laboratory opening brings researchers closer to goal

April 3, 2007

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the University of Ottawa, The Ottawa Hospital and Dr. John Bell wish to extend their utmost thanks to Brennan and Tina Mulcahy, of Toronto for their generous donation of $600,000 that made the opening of the new Oncolytic Virus Research Laboratory a reality. This laboratory will usher in a new era of cancer research in Ottawa.

“One of the hurdles in trying to get new therapeutics for cancer treatment is having the ability to manufacture enough of your experimental therapeutic, in pure form, to allow it to be tested in cancer patients. Tina and Brennan recognized this as a clear impediment to getting new, more effective treatments to people quickly, so together, they made a donation that helped us create a special ultra-clean laboratory that can be used to manufacture new experimental therapeutics. For us, this is a huge step forward because it provides us with the opportunity to move our research program to the next level. We can now accelerate our laboratory discoveries into the clinic where we can see if they really can improve treatments for cancer patients.” Dr. John Bell, Senior Scientist – OHRI

The Oncolytic Virus Research Laboratory is part of the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) laboratory in the OHRI’s new Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at the General Campus of The Ottawa Hospital. It provides local scientists with a specially designed and constructed facility for the production of a pharmaceutical product that will be tested or used in humans. The laboratory has carefully controlled and filtered air so that products manufactured within it are kept ultra-clean and sterile. The floors, walls and ceilings are all tightly sealed and coated so that they are easy to clean and do not provide any surfaces where dirt and/or bacteria could be trapped. The facility has tight access control and is constantly monitored to ensure that substances manufactured within the facility are of the highest quality.

“Treatment of tumours with virus-based therapeutics has proven safe and effective in animal models of cancer and in a variety of human tumour samples in the test tube. To really advance these novel therapeutics, it is now imperative that we move forward and begin extensive testing, directly in patients before the end of 2007,” says Dr. Bell.

Dr. John Bell’s virus research was made possible by $30,000 seed funding provided by the Cancer Foundation. This funding enabled Dr. Bell to gather the initial data to prove his theory and has since resulted in millions of dollars of funding from national granting agencies.

The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is Eastern Ontario’s Answer to Cancer. We provide vital funding in support of prevention, awareness, diagnosis, treatment, research, and supportive and palliative care for residents in Eastern Ontario battling cancer – www.ottawacancer.ca.

For more information, contact:
Shannon Gorman, Vice-President of Operations &Communications
Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation
613-798-5555 ext. 10453
sgorman@ottawacancer.ca