New developments in the virus therapy of cancer: a historical review

Intervirology. 1993;36(4):193-214. doi: 10.1159/000150339.


Since the 1920s, viruses had been used for oncolysis. Natural human viral infections can rarely induce remissions of leukemias or lymphomas. Inoculation of tumor-bearing patients with live viruses very seldom resulted in durable complete remissions. Genetically engineered or tumor-adapted virus strains may perform better. Virally modified tumor cell membrane vaccines can induce in the host rejection strength antitumor immunity. Modern technology and much more work is needed before the optimal procedures for viral oncolysis or active antitumor immunization with virally modified tumor cell vaccines are learned and can be implemented in the clinical practice. Laboratory monitoring of the host's immunological reactions accompanying failure and success of tumor rejection is essential for the recognition and duplication of the successful and for the avoidance of the unsuccessful interventions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genetic Engineering
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunotherapy / trends*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Viruses / immunology*