CHALLENGES FACING ONCOLYTIC VIROTHERAPY
Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are designed to directly kill tumor cells and induce an antitumor immune response. Technological advances in molecular virology have made it possible to engineer the viral genome to arm the virus with therapeutic gene(s). These ‘armed’ viruses can remove tumor-induced immunosuppression and/or drastically modify the tumor microenvironment to enhance therapeutic efficacy.
Oncolytic virotherapy is among the most promising agents to induce immunogenicity and overcome immune-suppressive barriers in so-called “cold tumors” or relapsed/refractory patient populations.
Many OVs in development possess limited clinical efficacy with no overall survival benefit when applied alone.