History of oncolytic viruses

Genesis to genetic engineering

Elizabeth Kelly, Stephen J Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

294 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the turn of the nineteenth century, when their existence was first recognized, viruses have attracted considerable interest as possible agents of tumor destruction. Early case reports emphasized regression of cancers during naturally acquired virus infections, providing the basis for clinical trials where body fluids containing human or animal viruses were used to transmit infections to cancer patients. Most often the viruses were arrested by the host immune system and failed to impact tumor growth, but sometimes, in immunosuppressed patients, infection persisted and tumors regressed, although morbidity as a result of the infection of normal tissues was unacceptable. With the advent of rodent models and new methods for virus propagation, there were numerous attempts through the 1950s and 1960s to force the evolution of viruses with greater tumor specificity, but success was limited and many researchers abandoned the field. Technology employing reverse genetics later brought about a renewal of interest in virotherapy that allowed the generation of more potent, tumor-specific oncolytics. Here, examination of early oncolytic virotherapy before genetic engineering serves to highlight tremendous advances, yet also hints at ways to penetrate host immune defenses, a significant remaining challenge in modern virotherapy research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-659
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Therapy
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

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Oncolytic Viruses
Genetic Engineering
Viruses
Neoplasms
Oncolytic Virotherapy
Infection
Reverse Genetics
Body Fluids
Virus Diseases
Immune System
Rodentia
Research Personnel
Clinical Trials
Technology
Morbidity
Growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

History of oncolytic viruses : Genesis to genetic engineering. / Kelly, Elizabeth; Russell, Stephen J.

In: Molecular Therapy, Vol. 15, No. 4, 04.2007, p. 651-659.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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