Surgical Fellowship, 2006-2007
The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Rebecca Auer is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Ottawa in Canada and practices as a Surgical Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital, with a clinical focus on colorectal cancer and sarcoma. She is also an Associate Scientist in the Cancer Therapeutics Program of the Ottawa Health Research Institute. Her research focuses on the use of replicating oncolytic viruses, including vaccinia and rhabdoviruses, to precipitate an anti-tumor immune response and rejection of the cancer. When used prior to surgery (neoadjuvant) these viruses appear to provide protection against the subsequent development of metastatic disease. Dr. Auer, in collaboration with scientist Dr. John Bell, have recently received a $600K grant from the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research to study one such virus, an attenuated form of vaccinia, in patients undergoing hepatic resection for colorectal liver metastases. Of interest, preclinical data from our laboratory, using ex-vivo samples from patients with a variety of soft tissue sarcomas, suggests that these malignancies are highly susceptible to infection with both vaccinia and rhabdoviruses, resulting in rapid cell death. Currently plans are in place to obtain funding and initiate a clinical trial using an oncolytic vaccinia virus in patients with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma. Dr. Auer is involved in cancer research and the delivery of cancer care, not only at a local level but also at a provincial level, as a member of the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board, the Cancer Care Ontario Hepatobiliary Site Group, the Ontario Research in Biotherapeutics Program and the Eastern Ontario GIST Working Group. On a personal note, Rebecca and her husband Adam have recently welcomed the arrival of their first child, Joshua, born December 11th, 2008.