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Methods Enzymol. 2012;507:199-228. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-386509-0.00011-9.

Retroviral replicating vectors in cancer.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.


The use of replication-competent viruses for the treatment of cancer is an emerging technology that shows significant promise. Among the various different types of viruses currently being developed as oncolytic agents, retroviral replicating vectors (RRVs) possess unique characteristics that allow highly efficient, non-lytic, and tumor-selective gene transfer. By retaining all of the elements necessary for viral replication, RRVs are capable of transmitting genes via exponential in situ amplification. Their replication-competence also provides a powerful means whereby novel and useful RRV variants can be generated using natural selection. Their stringent requirement for cell division in order to achieve productive infection, and their preferential replication in cells with defective innate immunity, confer a considerable degree of natural specificity for tumors. Furthermore, their ability to integrate stably into the genome of cancer cells, without immediate cytolysis, contributes to long-lasting therapeutic efficacy. Thus, RRVs show much promise as therapeutic agents for cancer and are currently being tested in the clinic. Here we describe experimental methods for their production and quantitation, for adaptive evolution and natural selection to develop novel or improved RRV, and for in vitro and in vivo assessment of the therapeutic efficacy of RRVs carrying prodrug activator genes for treatment of cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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