UIC-2018-119 – Engineered HSV for cancer immunotherapy 

Oncolytic viral therapy is an emerging experimental treatment platform for cancer therapy. Oncolytic viruses replicate and selectively target and kill cancer cells without harming normal tissue. Genetically engineered herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a promising agent for cancer immunotherapy. Due to the complex virus-host interactions, less is known about what viral signature(s) constitutes a potent oncolytic backbone. At the present, a few HSV based therapies are in clinical trials for oncology including for glioma, solid tumors, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, etc. However, engineered viruses face the problem of inadequate viral replication and sometimes even face an antitumor immunity to oncolytic agents, lowering their potency. Through molecular or genetic dissection, the researchers at UIC have found that selective HSV-1 engineering renders the virus non-pathogenic, enables its replication in and lyses malignant cells and stimulates innate immunity. UIC researcher Bin He have engineered a new herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) for cancer immunotherapy backbone that only replicates robustly if in tumor cells & stimulates the type I interferon response, which is necessary to prime systemic antitumor immunity. Svetlana Kurilova skuril2@otm.uic.edu 312-355-1477

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