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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2019 Mar 1;49(3):201-209. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyy170.

Oncolytic virus therapy in Japan: progress in clinical trials and future perspectives.

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Department of Urology, Kyorin University Faculty of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
Division of Innovative Cancer Therapy, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Oncolytic virus therapy is a promising new option for cancer. It utilizes genetically engineered or naturally occurring viruses that selectively replicate in and kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. T-VEC (talimogene laherparepvec), a second-generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus type 1, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of inoperable melanoma in 2015 and subsequently approved in Europe in 2016. Other oncolytic viruses using different parental viruses have also been tested in Phase III clinical trials and are ready for drug approval: Pexa-Vec (pexastimogene devacirepvec), an oncolytic vaccinia virus, CG0070, an oncolytic adenovirus, and REOLYSIN (pelareorep), an oncolytic reovirus. In Japan, as of May 2018, several oncolytic viruses have been developed, and some have already proceeded to clinical trials. In this review, we summarize clinical trials assessing oncolytic virus therapy that were conducted or are currently ongoing in Japan, specifically, T-VEC, the abovementioned oncolytic herpes simplex virus type 1, G47Δ, a third-generation oncolytic herpes simplex virus type 1, HF10, a naturally attenuated oncolytic herpes simplex virus type 1, Telomelysin, an oncolytic adenovirus, Surv.m-CRA, another oncolytic adenovirus, and Sendai virus particle. In the near future, oncolytic virus therapy may become an important and major treatment option for cancer in Japan.


G47Δ; T-VEC; clinical trial; oncolytic; virus therapy


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