Review

Oncolytic virotherapy

  • Nature Biotechnology volume 30, pages 658670 (2012)
  • doi:10.1038/nbt.2287
  • Download Citation
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Abstract

Oncolytic virotherapy is an emerging treatment modality that uses replication-competent viruses to destroy cancers. Recent advances include preclinical proof of feasibility for a single-shot virotherapy cure, identification of drugs that accelerate intratumoral virus propagation, strategies to maximize the immunotherapeutic action of oncolytic viruses and clinical confirmation of a critical viremic threshold for vascular delivery and intratumoral virus replication. The primary clinical milestone has been completion of accrual in a phase 3 trial of intratumoral herpes simplex virus therapy using talimogene laherparepvec for metastatic melanoma. Key challenges for the field are to select 'winners' from a burgeoning number of oncolytic platforms and engineered derivatives, to transiently suppress but then unleash the power of the immune system to maximize both virus spread and anticancer immunity, to develop more meaningful preclinical virotherapy models and to manufacture viruses with orders-of-magnitude higher yields than is currently possible.

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Acknowledgements

S.J.R. and K.-W.P. acknowledge funding support from the Mayo Foundation, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center (CA15083), US National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute (CA100634, CA129966, CA118488, CA129193, CA136547 and CA136393), Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, Al and Mary Agnes McQuinn and Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology. J.C.B. is supported by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Terry Fox Foundation and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Molecular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.

    • Stephen J Russell
    •  & Kah-Whye Peng
  2. Center for Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

    • John C Bell
  3. Jennerex Biotherapeutics, San Francisco, California.

    • John C Bell

Authors

  1. Search for Stephen J Russell in:

  2. Search for Kah-Whye Peng in:

  3. Search for John C Bell in:

Competing interests

J.C.B. is the chief scientific officer of Jennerex Biotherapeutics.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen J Russell.