Scientist, Cancer Therapeutics Program
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Surgery and Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology. Faculty of Medicine
University of Ottawa
Surgical Oncologist, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Immunology & Microbiology
The Ottawa Hospital
Tier 2 Clinical Research Chair, Perioperative Cancer Therapeutics
University of Ottawa
Dr. Rebecca Auer is interested in all aspects of cancer surgery, from diagnosis to surgery for metastatic disease. As a Surgeon-Scientist, Dr. Auer heads a research laboratory and is the principle investigator in related clinical trials. Her translational research program focuses on understanding the promotion of metastatic disease in the perioperative period, following surgical stress. In particular she is studying novel perioperative cancer therapies, including oncolytic viruses, cancer vaccines and low molecular weight heparin, which inhibit the formation of metastases postoperatively.
Dr. Rebecca Auer is a
Surgical Oncologist and translational researcher studying the impact of surgery
on the immune system and subsequent cancer recurrence. In her laboratory the
focus is to develop innovative cancer therapeutics that can be administered during
the perioperative period and to translate these therapies to the clinic. With three active clinical studies of
perioperative cancer therapies, Dr. Auer aims to improve cancer outcomes for
all patients who undergo invasive cancer surgeries.
After receiving the
Gold Medal in Medicine at Queen's University, Dr. Auer moved to Ottawa to undertake her residency in General Surgery while
concurrently completing an MSc in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa. Following this, she completed a fellowship in
Surgical Oncology at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York where she
served as Chief Fellow for the Department of Surgery. In 2007, Dr. Auer was recruited to Ottawa and currently holds the position of Surgical
Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital, Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research
Institute (OHRI) and Assistant
Professor in the Department of Surgery and the Department of Biochemistry,
Microbiology and Immunology at the University
Dr. Auer is a pioneer in the field of perioperative cancer therapeutics. Her research is
among the first to explore the mechanisms responsible for the promotion of
cancer growth and metastases that occurs after surgery. Her work has clarified a
mediating role for Natural Killer cell suppression induced by surgical stress
and is currently elucidating pathways involved in this effect. Moreover, she
has developed and translated two non-traditional immune therapies from her
laboratory discoveries to clinical trials, including perioperative low
molecular-weight heparin and oncolytic viruses. This work was recently
recognized by the Canadian Cancer Society as one of the top research
discoveries of 2013 and has been profiled in Scientific America and the
Dr. Auer is a leader in
the field of Surgical Oncology. She is an expert member of Cancer Care
Ontario’s Colorectal and Sarcoma Disease Panels, a member of the Ontario Cancer
Research Ethics Board, a member of the National Cancer Institute of
Canada’s Colorectal Disease Oncology Group, the Ontario Regional Biotherapeutics
Program, the Terry Fox Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium, and she currently
serves on the executive of the Society of Surgical Oncology and the Association
of Academic Surgeons.
Zhang J, Tai LH, Ilkow C, Alkayyal AA, Abhirami AA, Tanese de Souza C, Lefevbre C, Falls TJ, Bell JC, Stojdl D, Auer RC*. Preventing metastases by perioperative targeting of natural killer cell dysfunction with Maraba MG1 virotherapy. Mol Ther 2013;7(22):1320-1332. IF:6.825.
Tai LH, Tanese de Souza C, Sahi S, Zhang J, Alkayyal A, Ananth A, Auer RC*. A Mouse Tumor Model of Surgical Stress to Explore the Mechanisms of Postoperative Immunosuppression and Evaluate Novel Perioperative Immunotherapies. J Visualized Experiments 2014;85. IF: 1.9.
Tai LH, Zhang J, Tanese de Sousa C, Alkayyal A, Ananth AA, Sahi S, Mahmoud AB, Bell JC, Makrigiannis A, Auer RC*. Perioperative influenza vaccination reduces postoperative metastatic disease by reversing surgery-induced dysfunction in natural killer cells. Clin Cancer Res 2013;19(18):5104-15. IF:7.742.
Tai LH, Tanese de Sousa C, Rintoul J, Ly L, Zhang J, Falls TJ, Belanger S, Bell JC, Makrigiannis A, Auer RC*. Preventing postoperative metastases by enhancing natural killer cell function with novel oncolytic virus therapy. Cancer Res 2013;73(1):97-107. IF:7.338.
Diseases, conditions and populations of interest
Cancer; Colorectal cancer; Ovarian cancer; Pancreatic cancer
Research and clinical approaches
Basic research; Cell therapy; Clinical research; Clinical trials; Immunotherapy; Molecular and cellular biology; Quality Improvement; Surgery; Translational research; Viral therapy