It is time for those working on oncolytic viruses to take stock of the status of the field. We now have at our disposal an array of potential therapeutic agents, and are beginning to conduct early-phase clinical trials in patients with relapsed/metastatic cancers. By drawing on lessons learned during the development of other biological therapies, such as monoclonal antibodies and targeted small molecule inhibitors, we are now in a position to chart the course of the next wave of trials that will go beyond the phase I studies of safety and feasibility. In this article we review our approach to the development of oncolytic viruses as cancer therapeutics. In doing so, we emphasise the fact that this process is modular and involves multiple iterative steps between the laboratory and the clinic. Ultimately, at least in the medium term, the future of oncolytic virotherapy lies in combination regimens with standard anti-cancer agents such as radiation and chemotherapy.
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