Dr. Patrick Lee, PhD
Professor, Departments of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology
Dr. Owen and Mrs. Pearle Cameron Chair in Basic Cancer Research
Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine
oncolytic viruses, human reovirus as a potential cancer therapy, role of p53 protein in tumour suppression
Pioneering cancer cures:
Dr. Patrick Lee was the first to discover that a naturally occurring virus – human reovirus – can selectively infect and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells. Reovirus-based cancer therapies are now being tested in clinical trials in the United States and United Kingdom. Dr. Lee and his research team are exploring the underlying molecular mechanisms that give the virus its cancer-killing powers. They are also testing reovirus’ ability to kill cancer stem cells, progenitor cells which give rise to all cancer cells within a tumour and yet are themselves resistant to most conventional anti-cancer therapies. Dr. Lee is also studying a key tumour suppressor protein called ‘p53,’ which jumps into action to protect the cell from becoming cancerous whenever it sustains damage to its DNA. Learning how p53 works and developing strategies to harness its tumour-suppressing abilities could lead to a cure.