En Route to Discovery of Potential ‘Green’ Refrigerants

Refrigerants have a wide range of applications in Canada, from their support for the food industry (storage and transport) to their key role in recreational sports like hockey, curling and ice-skating. Although current hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants have solved previous problems associated with depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, they still suffer from high global warming potentials. More recently, these are being replaced by hydrofluoroalkene (HFA) refrigerants with considerably less global warming potential.

Blocking assembly of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors to inhibit growth and increase immunogenicity of human fungal pathogens

Fungal pathogens cause life-threatening invasive infections in humans. Despite all available treatments, mortality rates remain unacceptably high, on par with deaths caused by infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. Alarmingly, the emergence of drug-resistant fungi is reducing already limited treatment options. To address needs for new antifungal medications, Amplyx Pharmaceuticals has developed fosmanogepix, a drug which attacks fungi by blocking their ability to build their cell wall, a structure needed to survive and invade humans.

Shaping the immunogenicity and efficient range of oncolytic vaccinia virus by the programmed release of therapeutically active, self-amplifying RNA containing virus-like-particles

In this project, an oncolytic virus will be generated that combines the safety profile of vaccinia virus, with the immunostimulatory power of RNA-vaccines. Currently, the RNA-genomes of Alphaviruses are successfully used to encode proteins to be vaccinated against. Their special genome organization and makeup allow them to self-amplify within a cell. This replication in turn alerts the immune system to the host cell while creating an abundance of not only the antigen to be vaccinated against, but also therapeutically active proteins, e.g.

Engineering virus-based cancer therapeutics to drive a systemic anti-cancer immune response

One rapidly evolving area of cancer therapeutics is immunotherapy, which aims to drive a cancer-targeted immune response in tumors. Replicating virus-based therapeutics are a novel cutting-edge immunotherapy that have shown promise clinically. Turnstone Biologics has developed a novel cancer-killing virus with the capacity to deliver multiple payloads to further enhance the virus’ anti-cancer effects in the tumour microenvironment. Selection of the correct payloads will play a key role in determining how effective the virus is in treating a broad spectrum of patients.

Engineering Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus to Remodel the Tumor Microenvironment and Improve Efficacy of Combinational Cancer Therapies

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are promising biotherapeutics that selectively infect and kill cancer cells. The efficacy of oncolytic viral therapy depends on the virus's efficient replication and dissemination within tumors. However, tumors often develop a dense extracellular matrix (ECM) surrounding their cells that provides resistance against many forms of cancer therapies including OVs.

Encoding Bi-specific T cell Engagers into oncolytic vaccinia virus

Through engineering and selection strategies, we have created novel cancer-killing oncolytic viruses (OVs) that are selective for tumours but are unable to grow in normal tissues. A critical component of the therapeutic activity of this class of therapeutics is the induction of an anti-tumour immune response, which can be suppressed in many tumours. One strategy to circumvent this problem is the use of Bi-specific T cell Engager (BiTE) antibodies that are able to force T cell recognition and killing of tumour cells.

Evaluation of recombinant bovine herpes virus-1 as a platform for novel cancer immunotherapy development

The most recent breakthroughs in cancer treatment are based on understanding that our immune system can be activated to attack tumours. While first achieved using antibody drugs called “checkpoint inhibitors”, this new paradigm of activating a cancer patient’s own immune system is also possible using viruses, an emerging field known as oncolytic virus (OV) therapy. The idea of OV stems from certain viruses that cause minimal disease in humans but have the ability to infect and subsequently elicit an immune response against cancer cells. Dr.

Building capacity in support of wastewater-based epidemiology to aid public health decision-making in southwestern Ontario

Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute respiratory disease induced by SARS-CoV-2. To date >1,000,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. Although testing capacity has expanded, Canada still faces challenges to realizing wider scale testing. A promising alternative to large-scale population testing in Canada may lie literally beneath our feet in our municipal sewer systems. This Mitacs program will measure SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA signal in wastewater system to track the trends in community infections of Windsor-Essex area and expand into London-Middlesex region.

Investigations into the mechanism of action and potential in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis of the novel ruthenium based therapeutic BOLD-100

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic and fatal disease lung disease with unknown cause. There are limited treatment options for IPF and investigations into new treatment options is needed. BOLD-100 is a clinical-stage small molecule that is currently being investigated as a treatment option in oncology and viral infections. The pathway that BOLD-100 impacts, the unfolded protein response, is important in IPF and therefore this project’s objective is to use preclinical models to test whether BOLD-100 can affect development of IPF.

Mass spectrometry analysis of beneficial compound profiles of medicinal mushrooms

Mushrooms represent a source of diverse medicinal compounds that have been exploited for centuries. Beneficial compounds have proven efficacy against disease, including anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-tumoral, anti-bacterial traits. These compounds, along with potential for new discoveries, drive the exploration of mushrooms as a powerful medicinal source and supports their application in the health sector to discover new treatments against disease.