Converting tumor-specific markers into reporters of oncolytic virus infection

Ianko D. Iankov, Matthew L. Hillestad, Allan B. Dietz, Stephen J. Russell, Evanthia Galanis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Preferential killing of transformed cells, while keeping normal cells and organs unharmed, is the main goal of cancer gene therapy. Genetically engineered trackable markers and imaging reporters enable noninvasive monitoring of transduction efficiency and pharmacokinetics of anticancer virotherapeutics. However, none of these reporters can differentiate between infection in the targeted tumors and that in the normal tissue. Thus, we constructed oncolytic measles virus (MV) armed with a human light immunoglobulin chain reporter gene for the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM). Excessive production of monoclonal immunoglobulin is a key characteristic and marker for diagnostics of MM. Once expressed in infected target cells, vector-encoded λ protein recombines with myeloma IgG-κ immunoglobulin creating a unique IgG-κ/λ. A modified immunoassay technique allows precise quantification of converted marker molecules. Only antibody producing cells were able to assemble this chimeric immunoglobulin molecule, whereas other cells secreted only free λ light chain. Human myeloma xenografts inoculated with λ chain expressing MV secreted converted IgG-κ/λ in the plasma of tumor bearing animals and elevated reporter levels correlated with response to the therapy. This is the first report of a gene therapy vector engineered to discriminate between infection in malignant and normal cells by molecular modification of a tumor-specific protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1395-1403
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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