John Bell


Using viruses to kill cancer cells is a promising alternative to chemotherapy because it dramatically reduces the toxicity of treatment. Viruses are able to infect cells, replicate, induce cell death, release viral particles and spread through human tissues, making them an ideal weapon against cancer. Dr. Bell’s lab has shown that a variety of viruses selectively replicate in and kill cancer cell lines while leaving healthy parts of the body intact. The lab is currently seeking to understand the mechanisms by which viruses selectively target cancer cells. They are also optimizing the vesicular stomatisis virus as a cancer-fighting agent and testing the role of the immune system in both the enhancement and the inhibition of oncolytic virus activity.

Contact Information

Dr. John Bell

Telephone: 613-737-7700 ext. 70532


2007 - Program Director, Immuno- and Bio-Therapeutics, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR).
1998 - Professor, Medicine, University of Ottawa.
1998 - Career Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
1985 - 1998Professor, Biochemistry, McGill University.
1983 - 1984Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gordon Foulkes, Medical Research Council.
1982 - 1983Postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Mike McBurney, University of Ottawa.
1982PhD, Virology, McMaster University, Hamilton.

Research Output

  • Parato KA, Breitbach CJ, Le Boeuf F, Wang J, Storbeck C, Ilkow C, Diallo JS, Falls T, Burns J, Garcia V, Kanji F, Evgin L, Hu K, Paradis F, Knowles S, Hwang TH, Vanderhyden BC, Auer R, Kirn DH, Bell JC
    The Oncolytic Poxvirus JX-594 Selectively Replicates in and Destroys Cancer Cells Driven by Genetic Pathways Commonly Activated in Cancers
    • Mol Ther. 2011 Dec 20. doi: 10.1038/mt.2011.276
  • Breitbach CJ, Burke J, Jonker D, Stephenson J, Haas AR, Chow LQ, Nieva J, Hwang TH, Moon A, Patt R, Pelusio A, Le Boeuf F, Burns J, Evgin L, De Silva N, Cvancic S, Robertson T, Je JE, Lee YS, Parato K, Diallo JS, Fenster A, Daneshmand M, Bell JC, Kirn DH
    Intravenous delivery of a multi-mechanistic cancer-targeted oncolytic poxvirus in humans
    • Nature. 2011 Aug 31;477(7362):99-102
  • Breitbach CJ, De Silva NS, Falls TJ, Aladl U, Evgin L, Paterson J, Sun YY, Roy DG, Rintoul JL, Daneshmand M, Parato K, Stanford MM, Lichty BD, Fenster A, Kirn D, Atkins H, Bell JC
    Targeting tumor vasculature with an oncolytic virus
    • Mol Ther. 2011 May;19(5):886-94. Epub 2011 Mar 1.
  • Diallo JS, Le Boeuf F, Lai F, Cox J, Vaha-Koskela M, Abdelbary H, MacTavish H, Waite K, Falls T, Wang J, Brown R, Blanchard JE, Brown ED, Kirn DH, Hiscott J, Atkins H, Lichty BD, Bell JC
    A high-throughput pharmacoviral approach identifies novel oncolytic virus sensitizers
    • Mol Ther. 2010 Jun;18(6):1123-9
  • Le Boeuf F, Diallo JS, McCart JA, Thorne S, Falls T, Stanford M, Kanji F, Auer R, Brown CW, Lichty BD, Parato K, Atkins H, Kirn D, Bell JC
    Synergistic interaction between oncolytic viruses augments tumor killing
    • Mol Ther. 2010 May;18(5):888-95