McMaster University

McMaster University

Ronan Foley


Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Division: Clinical Pathology

Director, Clinical Stem Cell Laboratory

Juravinski Hospital
Second Floor Lab, Rm 201
905-527-4322 ext. 42074
Fax: 905-575-2553

Assistant: Laura Elson

Currently accepting Graduate Students
Currently accepting Post-Doctoral Fellows

Ronan Foley

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

FRCPC, Hematology, McMaster University, 1993
FRCPC, Internal Medicine, University of Toronto, 1991 MD, McMaster University, 1988


Research Focus

Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cell-based Vaccines

Gene Therapy at the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation, Henderson Site, has been developed in collaboration with the Hamilton Regional Cancer Centre. The emphasis is on Human Clinical Trials in Cancer Therapy and Genetic Immunization. This work is based on preclinical studies completed in laboratories at McMaster University and the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation.

We have initiated several cancer vaccine studies in patients with metastatic melanoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and most recently metastatic breast cancer. Facilities include a Stem Cell Processing Laboratory where stem cells are harvested, purified and subsequently used for cellular vaccination. Adenoviral-based gene transfer is used as a platform to genetically modify autologous antigen presenting cells in patients with melanoma, breast cancer and lymphocytic leukemia.

These studies involve the collaborative efforts of hospital, clinical trials nursing and laboratory staff where flow cytometry, PCR analysis, blood banking and stem cell processing with cryopreservation are all completed.

Based on successful pilot studies, future trials will include collaboration with other centers in Canada.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Foley’s clinical focus encompasses the following:

  • Consultative hematology
  • Autologous bone marrow transplant
  • Therapeutic plasma exchange
  • Director of clinical stem cell laboratory
  • Flow cytometry and bone marrow analysis

Academic Interests

Dr. Foley’s academic involvement includes:

  • Clinical hematology teaching of residents and fellows
  • MF4 clinical skills preceptor, McMaster MD Program
  • Session Lecturer in Advanced Immunology, HTH SCI 4II3
  • Session Lecturer in Human Gene Therapy, MS703

Team Members

Research Assistant/Coordinator: Elizabeth Scheid

Clinical Trials Nurse Coordinator: Brenda Kowaleski

Technical Specialist, Stem Cell Laboratory: Pamela O'Hoski


Terry Fox Basic Science Research Fellowship

Recipient, Saul Highman Memorial Award, Leukemia Research Foundation of Canada

Selected Publications

  • Zhang X, Economopoulos V, Noad J, Rohani R, Wang A, Levings M, Foley R, foster PJ, Dekaban GA. Non-invasive monitoring of human dendritic cell migration in the CB17 scid mouse by cellular MRI. J. Immunotherapy 2010 (Epub).
  • Denisova G, Denisov D, Evelegh C, Weissgram M, Beck J, Foley SR, Bramson JL. Characterizing complex polysera produced by antigen-specific immunization through the use of affinity-selected mimotopes. PLoS One 2009;4(4):e5309.
  • Kuruvilla J, Pintillie M, Stewart D, Lachance S, Power M. Couture F, Xenocostas A, Voralia M, Couban S, Foley R. Outcomes of reduced-intensity conditioning allo-SCT for Hodgkin’s lymphoma: a national review by the Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group. Bone Marrow Transplant 2009;Nov 16 (Epub).
  • Spaner, DE., Foley, R., Galipeau, J. and Bramson, J. Obstacles to effective Toll-Like Receptor agonist therapy for hematologic malignancies. Oncogene 2008;27:208-217.
  • Loisel-Meyer, S, Foley, R and Medin J. A.: Immuno-gene therapy approaches for cancer: from in vitro studies to clinical trials Frontiers in Bioscience 2008;13:3202-14.
  • Cyr M, Baatjes A, Dorman S, Crawford L, Sehmi R, Foley R, Alam R, O’Byrne P and Denburg J. In Vitro Effects of Budesonide on Eosinophil-Basophil Lineage Commitment. The Open Respiratory Medicine Journal 2008;2:60-66.
  • Foley R, Webert K, Arnold DM, Rock GA, Clark WF, Barth D, Sutton DM. A Canadian phase II study evaluating the efficacy of Rituximab in the management of patients with relapsed/refractory thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Kidney International Supplement. 2008;Feb;(112):S55-58.
  • Martin PJ, Weisdorf D, Przepiorka D, Hirschfeld S, Farrell A, Rizzo JD, Foley R, Socie G, Carter S, Couriel D, Schultz KR, Flowers ME, Filipovich AH, Saliba R, Vogelsang GB, Pavletic SZ, Lee SJ; Group. National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Project on Criteria for Clinical Trials in Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease: VI. Design of Clinical Trials Working Group report. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2006 May;12(5):491-505.
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