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      Oncolytic virus therapy: A new era of cancer treatment at dawn


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          Oncolytic virus therapy is perhaps the next major breakthrough in cancer treatment following the success in immunotherapy using immune checkpoint inhibitors. Oncolytic viruses are defined as genetically engineered or naturally occurring viruses that selectively replicate in and kill cancer cells without harming the normal tissues. T‐Vec (talimogene laherparepvec), a second‐generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus type 1 ( HSV‐1) armed with GMCSF, was recently approved as the first oncolytic virus drug in the USA and Europe. The phase III trial proved that local intralesional injections with T‐Vec in advanced malignant melanoma patients can not only suppress the growth of injected tumors but also act systemically and prolong overall survival. Other oncolytic viruses that are closing in on drug approval in North America and Europe include vaccinia virus JX‐594 (pexastimogene devacirepvec) for hepatocellular carcinoma, GMCSF‐expressing adenovirus CG0070 for bladder cancer, and Reolysin (pelareorep), a wild‐type variant of reovirus, for head and neck cancer. In Japan, a phase II clinical trial of G47∆, a third‐generation oncolytic HSV‐1, is ongoing in glioblastoma patients. G47∆ was recently designated as a “Sakigake” breakthrough therapy drug in Japan. This new system by the Japanese government should provide G47∆ with priority reviews and a fast‐track drug approval by the regulatory authorities. Whereas numerous oncolytic viruses have been subjected to clinical trials, the common feature that is expected to play a major role in prolonging the survival of cancer patients is an induction of specific antitumor immunity in the course of tumor‐specific viral replication. It appears that it will not be long before oncolytic virus therapy becomes a standard therapeutic option for all cancer patients.

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          ICP34.5 deleted herpes simplex virus with enhanced oncolytic, immune stimulating, and anti-tumour properties.

          Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV1) in which the neurovirulence factor ICP34.5 is inactivated has been shown to direct tumour-specific cell lysis in several tumour models. Such viruses have also been shown to be safe in Phase I clinical trials by intra-tumoral injection in glioma and melanoma patients. Previous work has used serially passaged laboratory isolates of HSV1 which we hypothesized may be attenuated in their lytic capability in human tumour cells as compared to more recent clinical isolates. To produce ICP34.5 deleted HSV with enhanced oncolytic potential, we tested two clinical isolates. Both showed improved cell killing in all human tumour cell lines tested compared to a laboratory strain (strain 17+). ICP34.5 was then deleted from one of the clinical isolate strains (strain JS1). Enhanced tumour cell killing with ICP34.5 deleted HSV has also been reported by the deletion of ICP47 by the up-regulation of US11 which occurs following this mutation. Thus to further improve oncolytic properties, ICP47 was removed from JS1/ICP34.5-. As ICP47 also functions to block antigen processing in HSV infected cells, this mutation was also anticipated to improve the immune stimulating properties of the virus. Finally, to provide viruses with maximum oncolytic and immune stimulating properties, the gene for human or mouse GM-CSF was inserted into the JS1/34.5-/47- vector backbone. GM-CSF is a potent immune stimulator promoting the differentiation of progenitor cells into dendritic cells and has shown promise in clinical trials when delivered by a number of means. Combination of GM-CSF with oncolytic therapy may be particularly effective as the necrotic cell death accompanying virus replication should serve to effectively release tumour antigens to then induce a GM-CSF-enhanced immune response. This would, in effect, provide an in situ, patient-specific, anti-tumour vaccine. The viruses constructed were tested in vitro in human tumour cell lines and in vivo in mice demonstrating significant anti-tumour effects. These were greatly improved compared to viruses not containing each of the modifications described. In vivo, both injected and non-injected tumours showed significant shrinkage or clearance and mice were protected against re-challenge with tumour cells. The data presented indicate that JS1/ICP34.5-/ICP47-/GM-CSF acts as a powerful oncolytic agent which may be appropriate for the treatment of a number of solid tumour types in man.
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            A phase I study of OncoVEXGM-CSF, a second-generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus expressing granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor.

            To conduct a phase I clinical trial with a second-generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus (HSV) expressing granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (Onco VEXGM-CSF) to determine the safety profile of the virus, look for evidence of biological activity, and identify a dosing schedule for later studies. The virus was administered by intratumoral injection in patients with cutaneous or s.c. deposits of breast, head and neck and gastrointestinal cancers, and malignant melanoma who had failed prior therapy. Thirteen patients were in a single-dose group, where doses of 10(6), 10(7), and 10(8) plaque-forming units (pfu)/mL were tested, and 17 patients were in a multidose group testing a number of dose regimens. The virus was generally well tolerated with local inflammation, erythema, and febrile responses being the main side effects. The local reaction to injection was dose limiting in HSV-seronegative patients at 10(7) pfu/mL. The multidosing phase thus tested seroconverting HSV-seronegative patients with 10(6) pfu/mL followed by multiple higher doses (up to 10(8) pfu/mL), which was well tolerated by all patients. Biological activity (virus replication, local reactions, granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor expression, and HSV antigen-associated tumor necrosis), was observed. The duration of local reactions and virus replication suggested that dosing every 2 to 3 weeks was appropriate. Nineteen of 26 patient posttreatment biopsies contained residual tumor of which 14 showed tumor necrosis, which in some cases was extensive, or apoptosis. In all cases, areas of necrosis also strongly stained for HSV. The overall responses to treatment were that three patients had stable disease, six patients had tumors flattened (injected and/or uninjected lesions), and four patients showed inflammation of uninjected as well as the injected tumor, which, in nearly all cases, became inflamed. Onco VEXGM-CSF is well tolerated and can be safely administered using the multidosing protocol described. Evidence of an antitumor effect was seen.
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              Local and distant immunity induced by intralesional vaccination with an oncolytic herpes virus encoding GM-CSF in patients with stage IIIc and IV melanoma.

              An oncolytic herpes simplex virus engineered to replicate selectively in tumor cells and to express granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GMCSF) was tested as a direct intralesional vaccination in melanoma patients. The work reported herein was performed to better characterize the effect of vaccination on local and distant antitumor immunity. Metastatic melanoma patients with accessible lesions were enrolled in a multicenter 50-patient phase II clinical trial of an oncolytic herpesvirus encoding GM-CSF (Oncovex(GM-CSF)). An initial priming dose of 10(6) pfu vaccine was given by intratumoral injection, followed by 10(8) pfu every 2 weeks to 24 total doses. Peripheral blood and tumor tissue were collected for analysis of effector T cells, CD4(+)FoxP3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg), CD8(+)FoxP3(+) suppressor T cells (Ts), and myeloid-derived suppressive cells (MDSC). Phenotypic analysis of T cells derived from tumor samples suggested distinct differences from peripheral blood T cells. There was an increase in melanomaassociated antigen recognized by T cells (MART-1)-specific T cells in tumors undergoing regression after vaccination compared with T cells derived from melanoma patients not treated with vaccine. There was also a significant decrease in Treg and Ts cells in injected lesions compared with noninjected lesions in the same and different melanoma patients. Similarly MDSC were increased in melanoma lesions but underwent a significant decrease only in vaccinated lesions. Melanoma patients present with elevated levels of Tregs, Ts, and MDSC within established tumors. Direct injection of Oncovex(GM-CSF) induces local and systemic antigen-specific T cell responses and decreases Treg, Ts, and MDSC in patients exhibiting therapeutic responses.

                Author and article information

                Cancer Sci
                Cancer Sci
                Cancer Science
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                09 September 2016
                October 2016
                : 107
                : 10 ( doiID: 10.1111/cas.2016.107.issue-10 )
                : 1373-1379
                [ 1 ] Department of Urology Graduate School of MedicineThe University of Tokyo TokyoJapan
                [ 2 ] Division of Innovative Cancer Therapy Institute of Medical ScienceThe University of Tokyo TokyoJapan
                Author notes
                [*] [* ] Correspondence

                Tomoki Todo, Division of Innovative Cancer Therapy, Advanced Clinical Research Center, Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4‐6‐1 Shirokanedai, Minato‐ku, Tokyo 108‐8639, Japan.

                Tel: +81‐3‐6409‐2142; Fax: +81‐3‐6409‐2147;

                E‐mail: toudou-nsu@ 123456umin.ac.jp

                © 2016 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

                : 30 June 2016
                : 31 July 2016
                : 01 August 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Pages: 7, Words: 7186
                Funded by: Translational Research Network Program of the MEXT of Japan
                Funded by: MHLW of Japan
                Funded by: AMED
                Review Article
                Review Articles
                Custom metadata
                October 2016
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_NLMPMC version:4.9.6 mode:remove_FC converted:28.10.2016

                Oncology & Radiotherapy
                clinical trial,g47∆,herpes simplex virus,oncolytic immunotherapy,oncolytic virus


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