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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Molecular Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering