Patients and clinical trial experts key to upcoming made-in-Canada CAR-T clinical trial

March 1, 2019

For patients, like Stefany Dupont, who are extremely sick with leukemia and out of options, CAR-T cell therapy offers hopeFor patients, like Stefany Dupont, who are extremely sick with leukemia and out of options, CAR-T cell therapy offers hopeResearchers at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa are known around the world for their expertise in designing and leading clinical trials, and they're now applying this knowledge to create a made-in-Canada approach for CAR-T cell clinical trials. CAR-T therapy uses a patient's own genetically engineered immune cells to attack their cancer.

The project involves a big team, including Drs. Natasha Kekre, Harold Atkins, John Bell, Dean Fergusson, Manoj Lalu and others. Patients have also been involved in the project from the very beginning.

"Patients as full members of our research team helped create the information and consent forms that help potential patients understand the trial," said Dr. Fergusson. "So when an eligible patient is approached about the trial reads our trial materials and forms, there will have been others, not just clinician researchers, who have looked at this.”

Learn more about the process for designing the trial, one of the patients who inspired it and some of the funding behind it. You can also check out recent interviews with Drs. Natasha Kekre and John Bell. The trial is expected to start later this year.

Core resources: Ottawa Methods Centre, The Ottawa Hospital Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre

Funding: Organizations such as BioCanRx, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Government of Ontario have supported The Ottawa Hospital’s CAR-T research program and the Biotherapeutics Manufacturing Centre, but additional funding is essential to make this program a reality. The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is raising money for cancer research like this, that is revolutionizing the care we provide patients.

Other key team members: Dr. Rob Holt (BC Cancer Agency, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University), Dr. John Webb (BC Cancer Agency, University of Victoria)

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion 

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

University of Ottawa: —A crossroads of cultures and ideas

The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe.

Media Contact

Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253