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Mol Ther. 2011 Apr;19(4):650-7. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.312. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Chemokine expression from oncolytic vaccinia virus enhances vaccine therapies of cancer.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Tumor vaccines can induce robust immune responses targeting tumor antigens in the clinic, but antitumor effects have been disappointing. One reason for this is ineffective tumor infiltration of the cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) produced. Oncolytic viruses are capable of selectively replicating within tumor tissue and can induce a strong immune response. We therefore sought to determine whether these therapies could be rationally combined such that modulation of the tumor microenvironment by the viral therapy could help direct beneficial CTLs induced by the vaccine. As such, we examined the effects of expressing chemokines from oncolytic vaccinia virus, including CCL5 (RANTES), whose receptors are expressed on CTLs induced by different vaccines, including type-1-polarized dendritic cells (DC1). vvCCL5, an oncolytic vaccinia virus expressing CCL5, induced chemotaxis of lymphocyte populations in vitro and in vivo, and displayed improved safety in vivo. Interestingly, enhanced therapeutic benefits with vvCCL5 in vivo correlated with increased persistence of the viral agent exclusively within the tumor. When tumor-bearing mice were both vaccinated with DC1 and treated with vvCCL5 a further significant enhancement in tumor response was achieved which correlated with increased levels of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. This approach therefore represents a novel means of combining biological therapies for cancer treatment.

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