Oncolytic immunotherapy: unlocking the potential of viruses to help target cancer

Abstract

              <p>Oncolytic immunotherapy is a research area of cancer immunotherapy investigating the use of modified viruses to target cancer cells. A variety of different viral backbones (e.g., adenovirus, reovirus) with a diverse range of genetic modifications are currently being investigated for the treatment of a variety of cancers. The oncolytic virus that has advanced the furthest in clinical development is talimogene laherparepvec, a recombinant HSV-1 virus expressing granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). In a phase 3 study in patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma, intralesional talimogene laherparepvec treatment resulted in a higher durable response rate compared with subcutaneous GM-CSF treatment (16.3 versus 2.1%; <em>P</em> &lt; 0.001). Notably, responses were observed at uninjected lesions including visceral lesions, indicating a systemic antitumor response had occurred. Studies evaluating combination treatments involving oncolytic viruses and immunologic agents are ongoing. This review focuses on the mechanisms of action for oncolytic viruses and highlights select agents and combinations currently in development.</p><br /><br />

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