On June 25, 2021, we welcomed individuals from varied fields of innovation, science, health, and healthcare from across Canada to our last summer TR Spotlight of this year, “Viruses – Friend Or Foe? Development Of Viruses For Cancer Therapy”.

Dr. Joseph Ferenbok, Director at the TRP kickstarted the virtual event to a packed house by welcoming all attendees, which included students, industry professionals, educators, clinicians, and people with experience in healthcare.

Dr. Karen Mossman, the Vice-President of Research at McMaster University, an expert on viral cancer therapies started by asking the audience a pressing question, “Are viruses our friend or foe? Can they be both?” Dr. Mossman has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how cells sense viral infections, and in turn, how viruses evade detection by host cells. More recently, her efforts have also focused on the development of “oncolytics” — therapeutic viruses used to fight cancer, the focus of this talk.

While Dr. Mossman particularly works on Herpes simplex and bovine syncytial viruses, she has more recently worked with virulent viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Her major focus when it comes to oncolytic viral cancer therapies is to understand how we can better use virus-host interactions and modulation of host immune response to develop novel anti-cancer immunotherapies.

Following her talk was an interactive and engaging discussion with participants that further explained the role of viruses in cancer therapy.

Did you miss the live event? You can watch it on-demand below.