“Buy One Get One Free”: Armed Viruses for the Treatment of Cancer Cells and their Microenvironment
Timothy P. Cripe,
E. Antonio Chiocca.
Oncolytic viral therapy is a promising biological therapy for the treatment of cancer. Recent advances in genetic engineering have facilitated the construction of custom-built oncolytic viruses that can be exquisitely targeted to tumors by exploiting each cancers unique biology and their efficacy can be further enhanced by “arming” them with additional therapeutic genes. Such an approach allows the virus to unload its “therapeutic cargo” at the tumor site, thereby enhancing its anti-neoplastic properties. While several clever strategies have been recently described using genes that can induce cellular apoptosis/suicide and/or facilitate tumor/virus imaging, viruses armed with genes that also affect the tumor microenvironment present an exciting and promising approach to therapy. In this review we discuss recently developed oncolytic viruses armed with genes encoding for angiostatic factors, inflammatory cytokines, or proteases that modulate the extracellular matrix to regulate tumor vascularization, anti-tumor immune responses and viral spread throughout the solid tumor.
Keywords: Oncolytic viruses, tumor microenvironment, angiogenesis, extracellular matrix, cytokines
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