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Oncolytic Viruses for Induction of Anti-Tumor Immunity

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Oncolytic virotherapy is an evolving but, as yet, unrealized treatment option for cancer. This approach harnesses the cancer-restricted replicative activity of engineered viruses to achieve tumor cell kill. Tumors that are resistant to chemotherapy or radiotherapy can be susceptible to viral oncolysis because of distinct cell kill mechanisms. There is now compelling evidence that collateral induction of anti-tumor immune responses contributes substantially to viral antitumor activities. In addition to the expected anti-viral immune clearance, the "danger" signal created by virus-infected cells can generate immune co-stimulation known to override immune suppression and reverse tolerance within the tumor microenvironment. Our recent findings indicate that immune activation augments the clinical outcomes of oncolytic virotherapy. Strikingly similar and robust clinical response rates (>25%) were observed among advanced cancer patients following intratumoral treatments with adenoviral (AdΔ24) and herpes simplex (JS1/34.5-/47) constructs armed with an integrated granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF) payload. Both agents produced regressions in injected as well as distant, uninjected lesions, demonstrating systemic effectiveness. We discuss the innate and adaptive immune activating events that may contribute to these clinical outcomes, and examine systemic delivery strategies to tilt the immunological balance from viral clearance to tumor elimination.

Keywords: AdΔ24; GMCSF; ONCOVEX; Oncolytic virotherapy; Oncolytic virus; cancer; cationic liposome encapsulation; cell kill mechanisms; chemotherapy or radiotherapy; granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF); reverse tolerance; stealthed virus

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2012

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Each issue of the journal contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics in both pre-clinical and clinical areas of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology is an essential journal for academic, clinical, government and pharmaceutical scientists who wish to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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