Protecting cancer patients from COVID-19: World-first clinical trial tests a novel immune-boosting strategy

In the race to find new ways to prevent and treat COVID-19, BioCanRx and its partners, have launched an innovative clinical trial focused on strengthening the immune system for one of the most vulnerable populations – cancer patients.


The trial involves IMM-101, a preparation of safe, heat-killed bacteria that broadly stimulates the innate, or “first-response,” arm of the immune system. The researchers hope that boosting cancer patients’ immune systems with IMM-101 will protect them from developing severe COVID-19 and other dangerous lung infections.


“An effective vaccine that provides specific protection against COVID-19 could take another year or more to develop, test, and implement,” says Dr. Rebecca Auer, study lead, BioCanRx network investigator, surgical oncologist and Director of Cancer Research at The Ottawa Hospital and associate professor at the University of Ottawa. “In the meantime, there is an urgent need to protect people with cancer from severe COVID-19 infection, and we think this immune stimulator, IMM-101, may be able to do this.”


This clinical trial is among the first of BioCanRx’s funded projects in its second cycle as a Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), through funding by the Government of Canada. BioCanRx was recently renewed for a 3-year term.


Read the full clinical trial media release.


See project summary for more details