Author(s): Mullen JT, Tanabe KK
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Abstract The concept of using replicating viruses as anticancer agents is not a new one, but the ability to genetically modify these viruses into increasingly potent and tumor-specific vectors is a recent phenomenon. As more is learned about the functions of viral gene products in controlling the mammalian cell cycle and in disabling cellular defense mechanisms, specific viral functions can be augmented or eliminated to enhance antineoplastic efficacy. In this article, general mechanisms by which oncolytic viruses achieve their antitumor efficacy and specificity are reviewed. The paradoxical roles of the immune response are addressed with respect to oncolytic viral therapy, as it, on one hand, impedes the spread of viral infection, and on the other, augments tumor cell destruction through the recruitment of T cells "vaccinated" against tumor antigens. The most commonly used oncolytic viruses are each reviewed in turn, including adenoviruses, herpes simplex viruses, vaccinia viruses, reoviruses, and Newcastle disease viruses. Special attention is focused on the unique biology of each of these viruses as well as the status of several of these mutants in clinical trials.
This article was published in Oncologist
and referenced in Journal of Veterinary Science & Technology