Summit Speakers

Carl H. June

Carl H. June

Director, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Director, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

Carl H. June is the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He maintains a research laboratory that studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection. In 2011, his research team published findings detailing a new therapy in which patients with refractory and relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia were treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells. The June laboratory has been highly productive with >500 publications, and a google scholar h-index of 155 with >93,000 citations.

The impact of this work has become widely recognized as a major turning point that is delivering on the long-held promise of cancer gene therapy. The CAR T cells invented in the June laboratory were awarded "Breakthrough Therapy" status by the FDA for acute leukemia in children and adults in 2014 and for adults with lymphoma in 2018. The CAR T cells invented in the June laboratory were approved by the FDA for acute leukemia in 2017 and afterwards, for diffuse large B cell lymphoma. These accomplishments have been recognized by the White House on several occasions.

June has published more than 500 manuscripts and is the recipient of numerous prizes and honors, including election to the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2014, and the American Philosophical Society. He has been awared the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (shared w J. Allison), the Novartis Prize in Immunology (shared w Z. Eshhar and S. Rosenberg), the Karl Landsteiner Memorial award, the Karnofsky Prize from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Albany Medical Prize and a lifetime achievement award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Grace Fox

Grace Fox

Master's Student, University of Ottawa

Grace Fox is a Master's student in the Epidemiology program at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests include patient engagement and understanding the best ways to recognize patient partners for their contributions to research.


Christopher Helsen

Christopher Helsen

Executive Director R&D
Triumvira Immunologics USA Inc.

Christopher Helsen holds a Master’s degree in biochemistry from the Technical University Munich, Germany and a doctorate from the University of Toronto in biochemistry. He is the primary inventor of the T-cell Antigen Coupler (TAC) technology and one of the founding scientists of Triumvira.

Chris has in-depth experience in biochemistry, cell biology and protein science. He has worked so far on a variety of research topics such as spider silks, chaperones and yeast prions.

As Executive Director of Research and Development at Triumvira Chris is now managing the development of new TAC products and ancillary technologies.


Marie-France Langlet

Marie-France Langlet

Patient Speaker

In 2004, Marie-France Langlet's nine-year-old son, Lucas DiTecco, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine (CHUSJ), where he would go through several chemotherapy treatments. Unfortunately, chemotherapy would not be sufficient to keep him in remission. He would then receive a bone marrow transplant in 2005. From the beginning and throughout the hospitalizations and follow-up process, Mrs. Langlet and her husband were actively involved in the treatment, in close partnership with the healthcare practitioners. All along, she also felt the need to help other parents who shared her struggles as they fought for their child's return to health and happiness.

Since her son's complete recovery in 2013, Mrs. Langlet has been an active participant in numerous initiatives concerning patient partnership at the CHUSJ, particularly within the oncology department. She has also been a member of the CHUSJ Patients’ Committee from 2014 to 2017 and on the CHUSJ Board of directors in 2017. Since 2018, she leads the Bureau du Partenariat Patients-Familles-Soignants (Patient-Family-Caregiver Partnership Office) of the CHU Sainte-Justine. Along with the Direction collaboration et partenariat patient (DCPP), the Centre d’excellence en partenariat avec les patients et le public (CEPPP) and the Université de Montréal, she has also been involved in various educational projects on healthcare partnership that target both the general population and the community of healthcare professionals.

Her son's exceptional courage and determination have been her greatest source of inspiration. Over the years, she has attempted to celebrate him through her involvement, paying forward and lending her support to those who have dedicated their lives to caring for our children. Mrs. Langlet has a creative spirit, the will to act, and an extensive management experience in large organizations enabling her to devote her strength and personal beliefs to her cause.


Rob Holt

Rob Holt

Distinguished Scientist, Genome Sciences Centre, BC Cancer Research Institute
Scientific Co-Director, BC Cancer Immunotherapy Program
Professor of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia
Professor of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University

Dr. Holt grew up in Vancouver BC and obtained his PhD in Neuropharmacology from the University of Alberta. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular Evolution at the State University of New York, Dr. Holt joined Craig Venter's team at Celera Genomics in Rockville, Maryland, where he served as the Scientific Operations Manager for initial sequencing of the human genome and numerous model organism genomes. Since 2003 Dr. Holt has been a scientist at Canada's Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre located at the British Columbia Cancer Research Institute in Vancouver, where he is also Scientific Co-Director of the BC Cancer Immunotherapy Program. Dr. Holt's team is recognized for developing next-generation sequencing methods to interrogate the genetics of the adaptive immune system and for identifying novel infectious agents (oncomicrobes) linked to cancer. His current basic and clinical research directions are focused on developing and implementing immune interventions for cancer, including cancer vaccines and genetically engineered immune cells.


Shae Komant

Shae Komant

PhD student in the Medical Microbiology and Immunology Program, University of Alberta

Shae Komant is a third year PhD student in the Medical Microbiology and Immunology program at the University of Alberta. Her research aims to develop novel immune interventions for the treatment of cancer including personalized cancer vaccines. Specifically, her research involves investigating the ability of genetically modified vaccinia virus to kill cancer cells and induce anti-tumor immune responses in the host. She is also involved in student programs aiming to bridge science and academia to industry and beyond, including the Edmonton Chapter of the Science to Business Network, organizing Research Day symposiums and mentoring undergraduate thesis students.


Julian J. Lum

Julian J. Lum

Senior Scientist. Associate Professor
Deeley Research Centre, BC Cancer. University of Victoria

Dr. Julian J. Lum graduated with a PhD in Immunology from the University of Ottawa. He spent five years training at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of cancer biology with special emphasis on tumor metabolism. There he studied how cells adapt to nutrient stress and the role of autophagy in promoting cancer cell survival. In 2008, Dr. Lum returned to Canada and joined the Deeley Research Centre at BC Cancer where his current research interest is focused on the relationship between metabolism and impacts on immune responses in ovarian cancer. He is using mass spectrometry-based approaches to delineate the metabolomes of human patient samples. The goal is to identify potential targets that can be used to enhance immunotherapy for ovarian cancer. The vision is to metabolomically engineer CAR-T cells using CRISPR-Cas-based gene-editing as way to overcome metabolic barriers in the tumor microenvironment. More broadly, he hopes the information gained from this work will enable a better understanding of how the tumor microenvironment influences the immune response to cancer.

Dr. Lum serves as the Director of the Metabolomics Consortium of BC (MetaboBC), a network of metabolomic researchers solving the most pressing questions in cancer metabolism.

Dr. Lum is an Associate Professor with the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Victoria and Senior Scientist, BC Cancer. He is also the recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award. His work is funded by the BC Cancer Foundation, BioCanRx, CIHR, US Department of Defence, and Genome BC. Dr. Lum is Associate Editor of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.


Kathy McCoy

Kathy McCoy

Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine
Scientific Director, International Microbiome Center

Dr. Kathy McCoy is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Cumming School of Medicine, member of the Snyder Institute, Scientific Director of the International Microbiome Center, and holds the Killam Memorial Chair at the University of Calgary, Canada. Her research group uses germ-free and gnotobiotic models to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which the microbiome regulates host immunity and physiology. She is particularly interested in the dynamic interplay between the gut microbiota and the innate and adaptive immune systems. Her research aims to understand how exposure to intestinal microbes, particularly during early life, educates and regulates the mucosal, systemic and neuronal immune systems and how this can affect susceptibility to diseases, such as allergy, autoimmunity, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her lab also investigates how the microbiome regulates the immune system throughout life with the aim to identify microbial therapies that can be employed to enhance current therapeutic approaches, such as in cancer.


Nicole Mittmann

Nicole Mittmann

Chief Scientist and Vice-President of Evidence Standards, CADTH

Dr. Mittmann holds an MSc and PhD in pharmacology from the University of Toronto.

She holds a faculty position as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology; and is cross-appointed to the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. She is also an associate scientist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada.

In her Chief Scientist role, Dr. Mittmann is responsible for ensuring that CADTH actively learns, ensures rigour and quality, mobilizes evidence, and links science to strategy.

In her Evidence Standards role, Dr. Mittmann leads CADTH’s shared science groups, including the Health Economics, Research Information Services, Scientific Affairs, Implementation Support and Knowledge Mobilization, and Real-World Evidence teams.

In her academic capacity, Dr. Mittmann has conducted and collaborated on notable research in the areas of economic evaluations, outcomes research, and drug/patient safety. Research methodologies include the examination of large databases, economic methodologies, and decision analysis.


Laszlo Radvanyi

Laszlo Radvanyi

President and Scientific Director, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)

Laszlo Radvanyi earned his Ph.D. degree in Clinical Biochemistry in 1996 at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada performing his thesis work on T-cell immunology. Dr. Radvanyi (Laszlo) is currently the President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) in Toronto, Canada, where he oversees all research and development activities of the institute across Ontario. The OICR (www.oicr.on.ca) funds and supports both basic and translational/clinical research in oncology across the Province of Ontario and participates in international collaborations and partnerships in cancer genomics, drug discovery, and immunotherapy. It also serves as catalyst in facilitating the commercialization of promising research discoveries in Ontario.


Ying Tam

Ying Tam

Chief Scientific Officer, Acuitas

Dr. Tam obtained his M.Sc. and Ph.D. University of Waterloo, Canada. He has held several senior academic and industry positions including being one of the founding scientists of Acuitas Therapeutics in 2009. He is now Chief Scientific Officer at Acuitas, a company with a leadership position in the development and application of lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology for delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics, in particular, messenger RNA therapeutics. Dr. Tam has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals relating to LNP technology and development of pharmaceutical products.


Risini Weeratna

Risini Weeratna

Senior Research Officer, Human Health Therapeutics (HHT) Research Center, National Research Council Canada (NRC)

Dr. Risini Weeratna is a Senior Research Officer at the Human Health Therapeutics (HHT) Research Center of the National Research Council Canada (NRC) and leads the Cancer Immunology Team and the cell therapy thrust of the Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge Program, a Canadian Federal Government initiative for developing innovative cell/gene therapies that are affordable and accessible to all Canadian patients through the public healthcare system. In these roles, Dr. Weeratna provides scientific leadership and strategic vision to NRC internal and external collaborative research programs to help advance novel cancer immunotherapies from bench to the clinic. Prior to joining the NRC, Dr. Weeratna was a Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer Vaccine Research and Associate Director, Pharmacology at Coley Pharmaceutical Group.

Dr. Weeratna has >25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and holds a MSc in bacteriology from University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA and a PhD in microbiology/immunology from Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada. She is a Fulbright and a Killam scholar and has authored >60 manuscripts/book chapters in the fields of vaccines and immunotherapy.


Laurence Zitvogel

Laurence Zitvogel

Director, Clinicobiome, Gustave Roussy Cancer Center (GRCC)
Research Director U1015 INSERM
Scientific Co-Director, Center of clinical investigations Biotheris, GRCC
Full Professor, PU-PH -University Paris Saclay

Prof. L. Zitvogel, MD (Clinical Oncology), PhD (Tumor Immunology), full professor at the University Paris Saclay, graduated in Medical Oncology in 1992. Scientific career first at the University of Pittsburgh, US. Became Research Director at Institut National de la Santé et Recherche Médicale U1015, and Scientific Director of the Clinicobiome program at Gustave Roussy, the largest cancer Center in Europe in 1998. Actively contributed to the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy. Pionner of the concepts of immunogenic cell death and gut microbiota in cancer immunosurveillance and therapies. Recipient of many awards: Translation Research INSERM Prize, the ASCO-SITC, Brupbacher Awards 2017, ESMO Immuno-Oncology Award 2017, Baillet Latour Prize 2019, the Griffuel Prize 2019, the Duquesne Ligue Prize, and ITOC9 german award. Knighted Officer of Légion d’Honneur by French Ministery of Health 2019 and elected member of the National Academy of Medicine 2021. Her H-factor is 145, with >500 publications on PubMed, 108 265 citations in Clarivate analytics (highly cited researchers 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016).


Bertrand Routy

Bertrand Routy

Associate professor of Hemato-Oncology, University of Montreal (CHUM)
Scientific Director of the Immunotherapy and Microbiome laboratory, University of Montreal Research Center (CRCHUM)

Dr. Bertrand Routy MD, PhD is a young clinician-scientist and associate professor in the department of hemato-oncology at the CHUM (University of Montreal) with clinical expertise in lung cancer. Upon his recruitment to the CRCHUM in 2018, Dr. Routy quickly established himself as director of the CRCHUM oncomicrobiome research unit where he began work to develop novel microbiome-based therapeutics in oncology.

His work contributed to the discovery of the gut microbiome as a novel prognostic biomarker for immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) in various cancers. He characterized the deleterious impact of antibiotic-related gut dysbiosis on ICI outcomes, which led to pivotal changes in clinical oncology practice. Moreover, he demonstrated that modulation of the microbiome by fecal microbiota transplantation, probiotics, and prebiotic supplementation had the potential to circumvent ICI resistance. His team currently leads several microbiota-centered trials in oncology.

Dr. Routy is internationally recognized as a leader in the microbiome field, and his unending commitment to improving immunotherapy responses in cancer patients has led to several awards from prestigious societies including the Canadian Research Chair, the 2021 Gairdner Foundation award and the 2022 Terry Fox Clinician Scientist Award.


Karen Facey

Karen Facey

Evidence Based Health Policy Consultant & Researcher, University of Edinburgh

Karen Facey has a PhD in statistics and worked in the pharmaceutical industry and medicines regulation, before taking on the role of Chief Executive of the first national health technology assessment (HTA) Agency in Scotland in 2000. For the past 19 years she has been an independent consultant working with all stakeholders in relation to HTA development, patient involvement and use of real-world data to inform health policy. In 2021, Karen completed research in the EC-funded IMPACT HTA project to develop an appraisal framework for rare disease treatments at the University of Edinburgh, including recommendations for use of Outcomes Based Managed Entry Agreements. She is facilitator of the Payer-led, international RWE4Decisions initiative that has strong representation from CADTH, Canadian registry holders and patient organisations.