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The ex vivo purge of cancer cells using oncolytic viruses: recent advances and clinical implications

Authors Tsang J, Atkins H

Received 24 August 2014

Accepted for publication 17 November 2014

Published 23 January 2015 Volume 2015:4 Pages 13—23


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Faris Farassati

Jovian J Tsang,1,2 Harold L Atkins2,3

1Department of Biochemistry, University of Ottawa, 2Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, 3Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Abstract: Hematological malignancies are treated with intensive high-dose chemotherapy, with or without radiation. This is followed by hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation (HSCT) to rescue or reconstitute hematopoiesis damaged by the anticancer therapy. Autologous HSC grafts may contain cancer cells and purging could further improve treatment outcomes. Similarly, allogeneic HSCT may be improved by selectively purging alloreactive effector cells from the graft rather than wholesale immune cell depletion. Viral agents that selectively replicate in specific cell populations are being studied in experimental models of cancer and immunological diseases and have potential applications in the context of HSC graft engineering. This review describes preclinical studies involving oncolytic virus strains of adenovirus, herpes simplex virus type 1, myxoma virus, and reovirus as ex vivo purging agents for HSC grafts, as well as in vitro and in vivo experimental studies using oncolytic coxsackievirus, measles virus, parvovirus, vaccinia virus, and vesicular stomatitis virus to eradicate hematopoietic malignancies. Alternative ex vivo oncolytic virus strategies are also outlined that aim to reduce the risk of relapse following autologous HSCT and mitigate morbidity and mortality due to graft-versus-host disease in allogeneic HSCT.

Keywords: hematopoietic stem cells, oncolytic virus, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, stem cell graft purging, hematopoietic malignancy, graft vs host disease

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