the shepherd lab

“The occasional success, to the striver, 
  is worth EVERYTHING.”
                    - Mary Oliver

our research

Oncolytic viruses in ovarian cancer: Several of the alterations and mutations that give rise to cancer, also render these cells permissive to lytic virus infection. The field of oncolytic viruses has exploded over the last decade or so, and is now being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of many cancers. The focus of our research in this arena is the evaluation of whether oncolytic virus infection and efficacy is impacted by interpatient tumour variability and intratumoral heterogeneity, particularly using patient-derived ovarian tumour cells from our large viable biorepository of ascites specimens. We have tested several different oncolytic viruses through collaborations with leaders in the field and have uncovered mechanisms affecting virus binding, entry, and spread using our spheroid culture model system. Our current direction is to determine whether there are strategies that could be adapted with this class of biotherapeutic agent to provide improved therapeutic benefit among more patients and in the unique context of metastatic ovarian cancer.