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Russell S.J.,Mayo Medical School | Peng K.-W.,Mayo Medical School | Bell J.C.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Bell J.C.,Jennerex Biotherapeutics
Nature Biotechnology

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. © 2012 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Huang B.,University of Pittsburgh | Sikorski R.,University of Pittsburgh | Kirn D.H.,Jennerex Biotherapeutics | Thorne S.H.,University of Pittsburgh
Gene Therapy

Recent developments in the field of oncolytic or tumor-selective viruses have meant that the clinical applications of these agents are now being considered in more detail. Like most cancer therapies it is likely that they will be used primarily in combination with other therapeutics. Although several reports have shown that oncolytic viruses can synergize with chemotherapies within an infected cancer cell, it would be particularly important to determine whether factors released from infected cells could enhance the action of chemotherapies at a distance. Here, we demonstrate in vitro synergy between oncolytic vaccinia and taxanes. However, we also show, for the first time, that this synergy is at least partly due to the release of factors from the infected cells that are capable of sensitizing surrounding cells to chemotherapy. Several cellular factors were identified as being mediators of this bystander effect, including type I interferon released soon after infection and high-mobility group protein B1 (HMGB1) released after cell death. This represents the first description of these mechanisms for beneficial interactions between viral and traditional tumor therapies. These data may provide a direct basis for the design of clinical trials with agents currently in the clinic, as well as providing insight into the development of next generation viral vectors. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved. Source

Moehler M.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Goepfert K.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Heinrich B.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Breitbach C.J.,Jennerex Biotherapeutics | And 3 more authors.
Frontiers in Oncology

Human tumors develop multiple strategies to evade recognition and efficient suppression by the immune system. Therefore, a variety of immunotherapeutic strategies have been developed to reactivate and reorganize the human immune system. The recent development of new antibodies against immune check points may help to overcome the immune silencing induced by human tumors. Some of these antibodies have already been approved for treatment of various solid tumor entities. Interestingly, targeting antibodies may be combined with standard chemotherapy or radiation protocols. Furthermore, recent evidence indicates that intratumoral or intravenous injections of replicative oncolytic viruses such as herpes simplex-, pox-, parvo-, or adenoviruses may also reactivate the human immune system. By generating tumor cell lysates in situ, oncolytic viruses overcome cellular tumor resistance mechanisms and induce immunogenic tumor cell death resulting in the recognition of newly released tumor antigens. This is in particular the case of the oncolytic parvovirus H-1 (H-1PV), which is able to kill human tumor cells and stimulate an anti-tumor immune response through increased presentation of tumor-associated antigens, maturation of dendritic cells, and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Current research and clinical studies aim to assess the potential of oncolytic virotherapy and its combination with immunotherapeutic agents or conventional treatments to further induce effective antitumoral immune responses. Source

Le Boeuf F.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Le Boeuf F.,University of Ottawa | Diallo J.-S.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Diallo J.-S.,University of Ottawa | And 16 more authors.
Molecular Therapy

A major barrier to all oncolytic viruses (OVs) in clinical development is cellular innate immunity, which is variably active in a spectrum of human malignancies. To overcome the heterogeneity of tumor response, we combined complementary OVs that attack cancers in distinct ways to improve therapeutic outcome. Two genetically distinct viruses, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and vaccinia virus (VV), were used to eliminate the risk of recombination. The combination was tested in a variety of tumor types in vitro, in immunodeficient and immunocompetent mouse tumor models, and ex vivo, in a panel of primary human cancer samples. We found that VV synergistically enhanced VSV antitumor activity, dependent in large part on the activity of the VV B18R gene product. A recombinant version of VSV expressing the fusion-associated small-transmembrane (p14FAST) protein also further enhanced the ability of VV to spread through an infected monolayer, resulting in a ping pong oncolytic effect wherein each virus enhanced the ability of the other to replicate and/or spread in tumor cells. Our strategy is the first example where OVs are rationally combined to utilize attributes of different OVs to overcome the heterogeneity of malignancies and demonstrates the feasibility of combining complementary OVs to improve therapeutic outcome. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Source

Diallo J.-S.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Diallo J.-S.,University of Ottawa | Boeuf F.L.,Ottawa Hospital Research Institute | Boeuf F.L.,University of Ottawa | And 23 more authors.
Molecular Therapy

Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are promising anticancer agents but like other cancer monotherapies, the genetic heterogeneity of human malignancies can lead to treatment resistance. We used a virus/cell-based assay to screen diverse chemical libraries to identify small molecules that could act in synergy with OVs to destroy tumor cells that resist viral infection. Several molecules were identified that aid in viral oncolysis, enhancing virus replication and spread as much as 1,000-fold in tumor cells. One of these molecules we named virus-sensitizers 1 (VSe1), was found to target tumor innate immune response and could enhance OV efficacy in animal tumor models and within primary human tumor explants while remaining benign to normal tissues. We believe this is the first example of a virus/cell-based pharmacoviral screen aimed to identify small molecules that modulate cellular response to virus infection and enhance oncolytic virotherapy. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Source

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