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Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2019 Mar 27;14:1-14. doi: 10.1016/j.omto.2019.03.005. eCollection 2019 Sep 27.

The Enhanced Tumor Specificity of TG6002, an Armed Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus Deleted in Two Genes Involved in Nucleotide Metabolism.

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1
Transgene, 67405 Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France.

Abstract

Oncolytic vaccinia viruses are currently in clinical development. However, the safety and the tumor selectivity of these oncolytic viruses must be improved. We previously constructed a first-generation oncolytic vaccinia virus by expressing the suicide gene FCU1 inserted in the J2R locus that encodes thymidine kinase. We demonstrated that the combination of this thymidine-kinase-deleted vaccinia virus and the FCU1/5-fluocytosine system is a potent vector for cancer therapy. Here, we developed a second generation of vaccinia virus, named TG6002, expressing FCU1 and with targeted deletions of the J2R gene and the I4L gene, which encodes the large subunit of the ribonucleotide reductase. Compared to the previously used single thymidine-kinase-deleted vaccinia virus, TG6002 is highly attenuated in normal cells, yet it displays tumor-selective replication and tumor cell killing. TG6002 replication is highly dependent on cellular ribonucleotide reductase levels and is less pathogenic than the single-deleted vaccinia virus. Tumor-selective viral replication, prolonged therapeutic levels of 5-fluorouracil in tumors, and significant antitumor effects were observed in multiple human xenograft tumor models after systemic injection of TG6002 and 5-fluorocytosine. TG6002 displays a convincing safety profile and is a promising candidate for treatment of cancer in humans.

KEYWORDS:

FCU1; I4L; TG6002; oncolytic vaccinia virus; ribonucleotide reductase

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