Keynote Speakers

Ryan D. Roberts, MD, PhD

Narrowing focus, expanding impact:  How a deep dive into the metastatic niche can improve care for kids and dogs fighting cancer

Date/Time: Thursday, October 17 – 1:15 p.m.

Synopsis:  Using murine models of metastasis, tumor-on-lung organoid systems, single-cell analytical systems, and conventional cell biology, our team has identified tumor-host signaling interactions critical to metastasis development in the lung. Our discoveries show that disseminated tumor cells exhibit divergent phenotypes that can cooperate to manipulate the behavior of lung tissues in ways that facilitate the establishment and growth of metastatic lesions. Active research projects include the pre-clinical validation of candidate therapies, development of both human and canine integrative clinical trials, elucidation of tumor-lung signaling pathways that drive metastasis in osteosarcoma, and identification of ways in which tumor cells cooperate with each other to drive malignant progression.

About the presenter:  Ryan D. Roberts, MD, PhD, is a physician for the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a principal investigator for the Center for Childhood Cancer at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and a member of the Translational Therapeutics research program at The James Comprehensive Cancer Center at The Ohio State University.

Dr. Roberts is a graduate of the Medical Scientist Training Program at the Ohio State University and of the Pediatrics Residency and Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and BMT Fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In 2016, he joined the faculty of the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, building on the research program that he developed as a resident and fellow.

Sponsored by:

Shruthi Naik, PhD

Oncolytic virus therapy for canine cancer

Date/Time: Saturday, October 19 – 8:30 a.m.

Synopsis:  Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are a form of cancer immunotherapy utilizing viruses that are engineered to selectively replicate within and kill tumor cells and induce robust intratumoral inflammation. This combination of tumor lysis and immune recruitment promotes presentation of tumor associated antigens and generation of antitumor immune responses. OVs are being evaluated clinically both as a monotherapy and in combination with immune checkpoint blockade. Certain types of OVs have the potential to be used for the treatment of both human and canine malignancies. Oncolytic Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is a novel OV agent designed for safe, systemic therapy of advanced and metastatic cancer. Studies in naturally occurring canine malignancies guided clinical development of oncolytic VSV. Early studies defined the adverse event profile and demonstrated promising clinical responses in dogs with advanced lymphoma. Studies are ongoing to define the immunomodulatory effects of VSV combination therapy approaches in canine tumors and identify biomarkers of response.

About the presenter: Dr. Naik is an investigator in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Mayo Clinic and co-founder of Vyriad, Inc. a biotechnology company based in Rochester, Minnesota that is advancing clinical development of viral based therapies including oncolytic viruses. Her goal is to bridge the gap between research and clinical translation to deliver promising technology to cancer patients in need. Her research has been focused on development and clinical translation of novel oncolytic virus therapies. Active research projects include clinical trials to test OV therapy approaches for advanced cancers including lung, kidney, and bladder cancer, and the use of spatial analysis to characterize immunomodulatory effects on the microenvironment in naturally occurring and heterogeneous tumors.

Sponsored by: