Oncolytic vaccines

Noura B. Elsedawy, Stephen J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Oncolytic viruses are ideal platforms for tumor vaccination because they can mediate the direct in situ killing of tumor cells that release a broad array of tumor antigens and alarmins or danger signals thereby cross-priming antitumor cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), which mediate the indirect killing of uninfected cells. The balance between the direct and indirect killing phases of oncolytic virotherapy is the key to its success and can be manipulated by incorporating various immunomodulatory genes into the oncolytic virus genome. Recently, the interim analysis of a large multicenter Phase III clinical trial for Talimogene laherparepvec, a granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor-armed oncolytic herpes simplex virus, revealed significant improvement in objective response and durable response rates over control arm and a trend toward improved overall survival. Meanwhile, newer oncolytics are being developed expressing additional immunomodulatory transgenes to further enhance cross-priming and the generation of antitumor CTLs and to block the immunosuppressive actions of the tumor microenvironment. Since oncolytic vaccines can be engineered to kill tumor cells directly, modulate the kinetics of the antitumor immune response and reverse the immunosuppressive actions of the tumor, they are predicted to emerge as the preferred immunotherapeutic anticancer weapons of the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1155-1172
Number of pages18
JournalExpert review of vaccines
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2013


  • GM-CSF
  • cancer immunotherapy
  • cancer vaccine
  • oncolytic virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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