Oncolytics Biotech Inc. Announces Publication of Research on Immune Response to REOLYSIN(R) during a Phase I Clinical Trial



    CALGARY, March 17 /CNW/ - Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (TSX: ONC, NASDAQ:  
ONCY) ('Oncolytics') reported today that Dr. Kevin Harrington and his research
group at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, U.K. published the results
of their work characterizing immune system responses to administration of
intravenous REOLYSIN(R) in a Phase I clinical trial. The paper, entitled
"Characterization of the Adaptive and Innate Immune Response to Intravenous
Oncolytic Reovirus (Dearing Type 3) during a Phase I Clinical Trial" appears
online in the March 6, 2008 issue of Gene Therapy.
    "This important work further defines the relationship between viral
therapy and human immune response, and supports the development of our ongoing
Phase II clinical trial program," said Dr. Brad Thompson, President and CEO of
Oncolytics.
    The investigators conducted a detailed analysis of the immune effects of
intravenous viral therapy by collecting and analyzing immune response to the
presence of the virus. The results suggest that reovirus may stimulate the
immune system to mount a dynamic immune response to the presence of virus,
increasing the potential to significantly enhance the efficacy of oncolytic
virotherapy. About a third of those patients also showed increases in NK
(natural killer) cells following therapy. The data support the development of
interventions aimed at blunting the patient's immune response, although
preclinical data also suggest that maintaining a baseline level is necessary
to restrict systemic spread/toxicity of the virus.

    About Oncolytics Biotech Inc.

    Oncolytics is a Calgary-based biotechnology company focused on the
development of oncolytic viruses as potential cancer therapeutics. Oncolytics'
clinical program includes a variety of Phase I/II and Phase II human trials
using REOLYSIN(R), its proprietary formulation of the human reovirus, alone
and in combination with radiation or chemotherapy. For further information
about Oncolytics, please visit www.oncolyticsbiotech.com.

    This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the
meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.
Forward-looking statements, including the implication of the materials
presented in "Gene Therapy" with respect to REOLYSIN(R), the Company's
expectations related to the results of trials investigating delivery of
REOLYSIN(R), and the Company's belief as to the potential of REOLYSIN(R) as a
cancer therapeutic, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which
could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from those in
the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among
others, the availability of funds and resources to pursue research and
development projects, the efficacy of REOLYSIN(R) as a cancer treatment, the
success and timely completion of clinical studies and trials, the Company's
ability to successfully commercialize REOLYSIN(R), uncertainties related to
the research and development of pharmaceuticals and uncertainties related to
the regulatory process. Investors should consult the Company's quarterly and
annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for
additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to the
forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned against placing undue
reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to
update these forward-looking statements.

    %SEDAR: 00013081E




For further information:

For further information: Oncolytics Biotech Inc.: Cathy Ward, 210, 1167
Kensington Cr NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1X7, Tel: (403) 670-7377, Fax: (403)
283-0858, cathy.ward@oncolytics.ca; The Equicom Group: Nick Hurst, 325, 300
5th Ave. SW, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 3C4, Tel: (403) 538-4845, Fax: (403)
237-6916, nhurst@equicomgroup.com; The Investor Relations Group: Erika Moran,
11 Stone St, 3rd Floor, New York, NY, 10004, Tel: (212) 825-3210, Fax: (212)
825-3229, emoran@investorrelationsgroup.com


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