Oncolytic biotherapy: a novel therapeutic plafform

Lancet Oncol. 2002 Jan;3(1):17-26. doi: 10.1016/s1470-2045(01)00618-0.


There is a clear need for new, selective, cancer treatments that do not cause the cross-resistance which occurs with currently available chemotherapeutic agents. Gene therapy is a promising approach, but to date, it has shown limited effectiveness in clinical trials because of insufficient gene transduction. Many investigators are now revisiting the 'old' idea of using tumour-specific, replication-selective viruses or bacteria to treat cancer. These agents can be directly oncolytic, but can also be used to simultaneously express therapeutic genes in target cells or induce tumour-specific, cell-mediated immunity. We discuss the promise of this rapidly evolving field and examine the potential barriers to its success.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Poliovirus / genetics
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics
  • Virus Replication