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Contact Information

Harold Atkins, MD, FRCPC
613 737-7700 70341

501 Smyth Road, Box 926
Ottawa, ON K1H 8L6

Information for patients with rare autoimmune diseases interested in stem cell therapy: http://www.ohri.ca/newsroom/newsstory.asp?ID=514

Information for MS patients interested in stem cell therapy: http://www.ohri.ca/newsroom/newsstory.asp?ID=584

ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6168-3939

Harold Atkins

Senior Clinician Investigator, Cancer Research
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Physician, Transplant and Cell Therapy Program
The Ottawa Hospital
Associate Professor, Clinical Hematology
University of Ottawa

Research Interests

Current Research Projects

I am a physician of the Ottawa Hospital Transplant and Cell Therapy Program specializing in evaluation and management of patients requiring stem cell transplantation for severe autoimmune diseases, particularly Multiple Sclerosis. In addition, I am an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and a senior clinical investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Stem Cell Transplantation for The Treatment Of Autoimmune Diseases.

Multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases result from the dysregulation of the immune response in individuals with permissive immunogenetics exposed to poorly identified environmental initiating factors. Thus, the removal of a diseased immune organ using systemic therapy (chemotherapy, antibody therapy and radiotherapy) and replacement with a healthy new organ derived from purified hematopoietic stem cells could be a potentially valuable and curative treatment for patients with autoimmune diseases. A variety of clinical studies at The Ottawa Hospital have shown the benefit of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) in multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, and other autoimmune diseases. Currently this clinical program is interested in:
• identifying barriers preventing access to this treatment,
• adapting HSCT to treat high-risk populations that might otherwise be excluded from this treatment,
• the long-term effectiveness of HSCT for MS and myasthenia gravis,
• Identifying potential late immunological, metabolic and neoplastic complications that might arise from HSCT for autoimmune indications.

Immunotherapy of hematologic malignancies.

I have a longstanding collaboration with Drs. Natasha Kekre and John Bell and a national consortium of scientists and physicians that are implementing a Canadian made approach to improve patient access to cellular cancer immunotherapeutics, such as chimeric antigen receptor T cells. This comprehensive program addresses the pre-clinical, translational, manufacturing, regulatory and societal aspects of new and potentially expensive cancer therapies.

Brief Biography

Harold Atkins, MD, is a physician of the Ottawa Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and a scientist in the Center for Innovative Cancer Research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

He received his Bachelor of Medical Science degree and Medical Degree from the University of Ottawa followed by a rotating internship year at the Victoria General Hospital in Victoria BC. Specialty training in Internal Medicine was done at the University of Ottawa. Clinical and research fellowships in Hematology, Stem Cell Transplantation and Experimental Hematology followed at the University of Washington and at the Ontario Cancer Institute.

He specializes in the management of patients requiring stem cell transplantation and he has spearheaded the use of stem cell transplantation for immune repair to treat patients with severe autoimmune diseases, particularly Multiple Sclerosis. He has also developed clinical trials exploring the role of dose escalated radiation therapy to treat refractory blood cancers. His laboratory research includes a longstanding and fruitful collaboration with Dr. John Bell developing oncolytic viruses particularly for the treatment of hematological cancers as personalized cancer cell vaccines.

Selected Publications

1: Kekre N, Hay KA, Webb JR, Mallick R, Balasundaram M, Sigrist MK, Clement AM, Nielsen JS, Quizi J, Yung E, Brown SD, Dreolini L, Waller DD, Smazynski J, Gierc NS, Loveless BC, Clark K, Dyer T, Hogg R, McCormick L, Gignac M, Bell S, Chapman DM, Bond D, Yong S, Fung R, Lockyer HM, Hodgson V, Murphy C, Subramanian A, Wiebe E, Yoganathan P, Medynski L, Vaillan DC, Black A, McDiarmid S, Kennah M, Hamelin L, Song K, Narayanan S, Rodrigo JA, Dupont S, Hawrysh T, Presseau J, Thavorn K, Lalu MM, Fergusson DA, Bell JC, Atkins H, Nelson BH, Holt RA. CLIC-01: Manufacture and distribution of non-cryopreserved CAR-T cells for patients with CD19 positive hematologic malignancies. Front Immunol. 2022 Dec 19;13:1074740.

2: Puyade M, Brunet F, Carolina R, Fergusson N, Makedonov I, Freedman MS, Atkins H. Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Multiple Sclerosis, the Ottawa Protocol. Curr Protoc. 2022 May;2(5):e437.

3: Chruscinski A, Juvet S, Moshkelgosha S, Renner E, Lilly L, Selzner N, Bredeson C, Grant D, Adeyi O, Fischer S, Demetris AJ, Zhang J, Epstein M, Macarthur M, Clement AM, Khalili K, Allan D, Altouri S, Bence-Bruckler I, Cattral M, Fulcher J, Galvin Z, Ghanekar A, Greig P, Huebsch L, Humar A, Kew A, Kekre N, Kim TK, McDiarmid S, Martin L, McGilvray I, Sabloff M, Sapisochin G, Selzner M, Smith R, Tinckam K, Yi TJ, Levy G, Atkins H. Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation for Liver Transplant Recipients With Recurrent Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis: A Pilot Study. Transplantation. 2022 Mar 1;106(3):562-574.

4: Atkins HL, Bowman M, Allan D, Anstee G, Arnold DL, Bar-Or A, Bence-Bruckler I, Birch P, Bredeson C, Chen J, Fergusson D, Halpenny M, Hamelin L, Huebsch L, Hutton B, Laneuville P, Lapierre Y, Lee H, Martin L, McDiarmid S, O'Connor P, Ramsay T, Sabloff M, Walker L, Freedman MS. Immunoablation and autologous haemopoietic stem-cell transplantation for aggressive multiple sclerosis: a multicentre single-group phase 2 trial. Lancet. 2016 Aug 6;388(10044):576-85.

5: Bryant A, Atkins H, Pringle CE, Allan D, Anstee G, Bence-Bruckler I, Hamelin L, Hodgins M, Hopkins H, Huebsch L, McDiarmid S, Sabloff M, Sheppard D, Tay J, Bredeson C. Myasthenia Gravis Treated With Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. JAMA Neurol. 2016 Jun 1;73(6):652-8.

Diseases, conditions and populations of interest

Research and clinical approaches