Oncolytic Viruses Cancer Therapy

by Zeicher, Marc

Abstract (Summary)
Wild-type viruses with intrinsic oncolytic capacity in human includes DNA viruses like some autonomous parvoviruses and many RNA viruses. Recent advances in molecular biology have allowed the design of several genetically modified viruses, such as adenovirus and herpes simplex virus that specifically replicate in, and kill tumor cells. However, still several hurdles regarding clinical limitations and safety issues should be overcome before this mode of therapy can become of clinical relevance. It includes limited virus spread in tumor masses, stability of virus in the blood, trapping within the liver sinusoids, transendothelial transfer, and/or vector diffusion of viral particles to tumor cells, limited tumor transduction, immune-mediated inactivation or destruction of the virus. For replication-competent vectors without approved antiviral agents, suicide genes might be used as fail-safe mechanism. Cancer stem cells are a minor population of tumor cells that possess the stem cell property of self-renewal. Therefore, viruses that target the defective self-renewal pathways in cancer cells might lead to improved outcomes. In this thesis, data we generated in the field of oncolytic autonomous parvoviruses are presented. We replaced capsid genes by reporter genes and assessed expression in different types of human cancer cells and their normal counterparts, either at the level of whole cell population, (CAT ELISA) or at the single cell level, (FACS analysis of Green Fluorescent Protein). Cat expression was substantial (up to 10000 times background) in all infected tumor cells, despite variations according to the cell types. In contrast, no gene expression was detected in similarly infected normal cells, (with the exception of an expression slightly above background in fibroblasts.). FACS analysis of GFP expression revealed that most tumor cells expressed high level of GFP while no GFP positive normal cells could be detected with the exception of very few (less than 0.1%) human fibroblast cells expressing high level of GFP. We also replace capsid genes by genes coding for the costimulatory molecules B7-1 and B7-2 and show that, upon infection with B7 recombinant virions, only tumor cells display the costimulatory molecules and their immunogenicity was increased without any effect on normal cells. Using a recombinant MVM containig the Herpes Simplex thymidine kinase gene, we could get efficient killing of most tumor cell types in the presence of ganciclovir, whithout affecting normal proliferating cells. We also produced tetracycline inducible packaging cell lines in order to improve recombinant vectors yields. The prospects and limitations of these different strategies will be discussed. An overview is given of the general mechanisms and genetic modifications by which oncolytic viruses achieve tumor cell-specific replication and antitumor efficacy. However, as their therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials is still not optimal, strategies are evaluated that could further enhance the oncolytic potential of conditionally replicating viruses in conjunction with other standard therapies. Another exciting new area of research has been the harnessing of naturally tumor-homing cells as carrier cells to deliver oncolytic viruses to tumors. The trafficking of these tumor-homing cells (stem cells, immune cells and cancer cells), which support proliferation of the viruses, is mediated by specific chemokines and cell adhesion molecules and we are just beginning to understand the roles of these molecules. Finally, we will explore some ways deserving further study in order to be able to utilize various oncolytic viruses for effective cancer treatment.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Pays Etienne

School:Université libre de Bruxelles

School Location:Belgium

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:apoptosis autonomous parvovirus


Date of Publication:10/21/2008

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