John Bell, PhD

Senior Research Scientist and Professor of Medicine
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada

Dr. John Bell’s research program is directed towards the identification and characterization of novel viruses that specifically infect and kill cancer cells. His style is highly collaborative and generous, bringing experts from many different areas to tackle problems and come up with solutions. In addition to his many local collaborations, Dr. Bell also leads the Canadian Oncolytic Virus Consortium and the Ontario Regional BioTherapeutics (ORBiT) Program, and is the co-founder of the only conference in the world dedicated to oncolytic viruses.

Oncolytic Viruses: Novel Cancer Therapeutics Current cancer therapies for metastatic disease have limited efficacy and high toxicity and thus novel approaches to treatment are sought. Viruses have many characteristics which make them desirable as a therapeutic strategy for the treatment of cancer, including their ability to infect cells and replicate, induce cell death, release viral particles and spread through human tissues. We have shown that in patients undergoing OV therapy our viruses can infect and disrupt tumor vasculature. The effect of OV therapy on all aspects of tumor microenvironment (e.g. support cells, immune infiltrates) is being investigated.

Dr. John Bell received his PhD from McMaster University in 1982, then. for three years he trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa and then at the Medical Research Council in London, England. Dr. Bell began his independent research career at McGill University in 1986 and moved to the University of Ottawa, Department of Medicine, in 1989, where he is a Professor of Medicine.

Dr. John Bell is recipient of ACGT’s 2013-2014 Clinical Investigator Award.