Oncolytic Vesicular Stomatitis Virus as a Viro-Immunotherapy: Defeating Cancer with a "Hammer" and "Anvil"

Biomedicines. 2017 Feb 10;5(1):8. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines5010008.


Oncolytic viruses have gained much attention in recent years, due, not only to their ability to selectively replicate in and lyse tumor cells, but to their potential to stimulate antitumor immune responses directed against the tumor. Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a negative-strand RNA virus, is under intense development as an oncolytic virus due to a variety of favorable properties, including its rapid replication kinetics, inherent tumor specificity, and its potential to elicit a broad range of immunomodulatory responses to break immune tolerance in the tumor microenvironment. Based on this powerful platform, a multitude of strategies have been applied to further improve the immune-stimulating potential of VSV and synergize these responses with the direct oncolytic effect. These strategies include: 1. modification of endogenous virus genes to stimulate interferon induction; 2. virus-mediated expression of cytokines or immune-stimulatory molecules to enhance anti-tumor immune responses; 3. vaccination approaches to stimulate adaptive immune responses against a tumor antigen; 4. combination with adoptive immune cell therapy for potentially synergistic therapeutic responses. A summary of these approaches will be presented in this review.

Keywords: adoptive cell therapy; immune-suppression; immunotherapy; oncolytic virus; vaccination; vesicular stomatitis virus.

Publication types

  • Review