Designing herpes viruses as oncolytics

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Designing herpes viruses as oncolytics

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Title: Designing herpes viruses as oncolytics
Author: Peters, Cole; Rabkin, Samuel D

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Citation: Peters, Cole, and Samuel D Rabkin. 2015. “Designing herpes viruses as oncolytics.” Molecular Therapy Oncolytics 2 (1): 15010. doi:10.1038/mto.2015.10.
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Abstract: Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) was one of the first genetically-engineered oncolytic viruses. Because HSV is a natural human pathogen that can cause serious disease, it is incumbent that it can be genetically-engineered or significantly attenuated for safety. Here, we present a detailed explanation of the functions of HSV-1 genes frequently mutated to endow oncolytic activity. These genes are nonessential for growth in tissue culture cells but are important for growth in postmitotic cells, interfering with intrinsic antiviral and innate immune responses or causing pathology, functions dispensable for replication in cancer cells. Understanding the function of these genes leads to informed creation of new oHSVs with better therapeutic efficacy. Virus infection and replication can also be directed to cancer cells through tumor-selective receptor binding and transcriptional- or post-transcriptional miRNA-targeting, respectively. In addition to the direct effects of oHSV on infected cancer cells and tumors, oHSV can be “armed” with transgenes that are: reporters, to track virus replication and spread; cytotoxic, to kill uninfected tumor cells; immune modulatory, to stimulate antitumor immunity; or tumor microenvironment altering, to enhance virus spread or to inhibit tumor growth. In addition to HSV-1, other alphaherpesviruses are also discussed for their oncolytic activity.
Published Version: doi:10.1038/mto.2015.10
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