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Helsinki, Finland

Hemminki O.,University of Helsinki | Hemminki A.,University of Helsinki | Hemminki A.,TILT Biotherapeutics Ltd
OncoImmunology | Year: 2016

Treating cancer patients with oncolytic viruses that activate the immune system to fight cancer is an increasingly appealing option. Potency of the approach seems promising while safety has been consistent. Biological correlative data indicates that combining oncolytic immunostimulatory viruses with other existing treatments is tempting and many trials are ongoing. © 2016 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Source

Liikanen I.,University of Helsinki | Koski A.,University of Helsinki | Merisalo-Soikkeli M.,University of Helsinki | Hemminki O.,University of Helsinki | And 6 more authors.
OncoImmunology | Year: 2015

With the emergence of effective immunotherapeutics, which nevertheless harbor the potential for toxicity and are expensive to use, biomarkers are urgently needed for identification of cancer patients who respond to treatment. In this clinical-epidemiological study of 202 cancer patients treated with oncolytic adenoviruses, we address the biomarker value of serum high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein. Overall survival and imaging responses were studied as primary endpoints and adjusted for confounding factors in two multivariate analyses (Cox and logistic regression). Mechanistic studies included assessment of circulating tumor-specific T-cells by ELISPOT, virus replication by quantitative PCR, and inflammatory cytokines by cytometric bead array. Patients with low HMGB1 baseline levels (below median concentration) showed significantly improved survival (p D 0.008, Log-Rank test) and radiological disease control rate (49.2% vs. 30.0%, p D 0.038, x2 test) as compared to high-baseline patients. In multivariate analyses, the low HMGB1 baseline status was a strong prognostic (HR 0.638, 95% CI 0.462–0.881) and the best predictive factor for disease control (OR 2.618, 95% CI 1.004–6.827). Indicative of an immune-mediated mechanism, antitumor T-cell activity in blood and response to immunogenic-transgene coding viruses associated with improved outcome only in HMGB1-low patients. Our results suggest that serum HMGB1 baseline is a useful prognostic and predictive biomarker for oncolytic immunotherapy with adenoviruses, setting the stage for prospective clinical studies. © Ilkka Liikanen, Anniina Koski, Maiju Merisalo-Soikkeli, Otto Hemminki, Minna Oksanen, Kalevi Kairemo, Timo Joensuu, Anna Kanerva, and Akseli Hemminki. Source

Kanerva A.,University of Helsinki | Koski A.,University of Helsinki | Liikanen I.,University of Helsinki | Oksanen M.,University of Helsinki | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2015

Oncolytic immunotherapy with cytokine armed replication competent viruses is an emerging approach in cancer treatment. In a recent randomized trial, an increase in response rate was seen but the effect on overall survival is not known with any virus. To facilitate randomized trials, we performed a case-control study assessing the survival of 270 patients treated in an Advanced Therapy Access Program (ATAP), in comparison to matched concurrent controls from the same hospital. The overall survival of all virus treated patients was not increased over controls. However, when analysis was restricted to GMCSF-sensitive tumor types treated with GMSCF-coding viruses, a significant improvement in median survival was present (from 170 to 208 days, P = 0.0012, N = 148). An even larger difference was seen when analysis was restricted to good performance score patients (193 versus 292 days, P = 0.034, N = 90). The survival of ovarian cancer patients was especially promising as median survival nearly quadrupled (P = 0.0003, N = 37). These preliminary data lend support to initiation of randomized clinical trials with GMCSF-coding oncolytic adenoviruses. © 2015 The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy. Source

Hirvinen M.,University of Helsinki | Capasso C.,University of Helsinki | Guse K.,University of Helsinki | Garofalo M.,University of Helsinki | And 10 more authors.
Molecular Therapy - Oncolytics | Year: 2016

In oncolytic virotherapy, the ability of the virus to activate the immune system is a key attribute with regard to long-term antitumor effects. Vaccinia viruses bear one of the strongest oncolytic activities among all oncolytic viruses. However, its capacity for stimulation of antitumor immunity is not optimal, mainly due to its immunosuppressive nature. To overcome this problem, we developed an oncolytic VV that expresses intracellular pattern recognition receptor DNA-dependent activator of IFN-regulatory factors (DAI) to boost the innate immune system and to activate adaptive immune cells in the tumor. We showed that infection with DAI-expressing VV increases expression of several genes related to important immunological pathways. Treatment with DAI-armed VV resulted in significant reduction in the size of syngeneic melanoma tumors in mice. When the mice were rechallenged with the same tumor, DAI-VV-treated mice completely rejected growth of the new tumor, which indicates immunity established against the tumor. We also showed enhanced control of growth of human melanoma tumors and elevated levels of human T-cells in DAI-VV-treated mice humanized with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. We conclude that expression of DAI by an oncolytic VV is a promising way to amplify the vaccine potency of an oncolytic vaccinia virus to trigger the innate-and eventually the long-lasting adaptive immunity against cancer. Source

Hemminki O.,University of Helsinki | Parviainen S.,University of Helsinki | Juhila J.,University of Helsinki | Turkki R.,Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM | And 16 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Oncolytic viruses that selectively replicate in tumor cells can be used for treatment of cancer. Accumulating data suggests that virus induced oncolysis can enhance anti-tumor immunity and break immune tolerance. To capitalize on the immunogenic nature of oncolysis, we generated a quadruple modified oncolytic adenovirus expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF). Ad5/3-E2F-Δ24-GMCSF (CGTG-602) was engineered to contain a tumor specific E2F1 promoter driving an E1 gene deleted at the retinoblastoma protein binding site ("Δ24"). The fiber features a knob from serotype 3 for enhanced gene delivery to tumor cells. The virus was tested preclinically in vitro and in vivo and then 13 patients with solid tumors refractory to standard therapies were treated. Treatments were well tolerated and frequent tumor- and adenovirus-specific T-cell immune responses were seen. Overall, with regard to tumor marker or radiological responses, signs of antitumor efficacy were seen in 9/12 evaluable patients (75%). The radiological disease control rate with positron emission tomography was 83% while the response rate (including minor responses) was 50%. Tumor biopsies indicated accumulation of immunological cells, especially T-cells, to tumors after treatment. RNA expression analyses of tumors indicated immunological activation and metabolic changes secondary to virus replication. Source

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