Recently, there was a special on the Home Box Office Channel that claimed scientists are closing in on a cure for cancer. The connection to Victoria and the Royal Jubilee Hospital seemed unlikely.
I watched the same TV show now on Youtube ( https://youtu.be/k-z22u2003k ) with wonder. As Matthew Herper said in his Forbes review: “The video is well worth watching, both for the empathic interviews with patients and for a look at some of the technology that really could be a beachhead in the war against a disease that will affect all of us.”
I was especially impressed that the video producer Shane Smith, the cofounder, was Canadian. I then found that even one of the main MDs, Dr. Bell, was from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. I immediately felt compelled to reach out to Dr. Bell’s office.
I asked Dr. Bell to explain exactly how the Moroba virus was “modified” and to explain how in the other two video case studies featured on the video, that measles virus and then HIV virus were able to play similar anti-tumor roles.
“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”, said Dr. Bell on his website.
But what really got me excited was the fact that our very own B.C. Cancer Agency and our Victoria Deeley Research Centre, behind the Jubilee Hospital, is playing a complementary role in this exciting breakthrough vision.
Within days I was invited to our research centre, attending their monthly open tour. I found myself talking to Dr. Nelson himself, about the “T Cell” component of the overall vision. It seems that Dr. Bell’s viruses attack the cancer. This causes the body’s own strengthened immune system (using Dr. Nelson’s T Cells – part of the white blood cell that we laymen know about from high school biology) to wake up and take over the attack on the tumour.
It seems to me that we are indeed fortunate to have scientists like Dr. Nelson and his team, living in our community in Victoria. I encourage residents to think of B.C. cancer research, and especially helping fund these 2015/16 trials, in their wills and in 2015 donations.