Oncolytic viruses: finally delivering.
Oncolytic viruses can be found at the confluence of virology, genetic engineering and pharmacology where versatile platforms for molecularly targeted anticancer agents can be designed and optimised. Oncolytic viruses offer several important advantages over traditional approaches, including the following. (1) Amplification of the active agent (infectious virus particles) within the tumour. This avoids unnecessary exposure to normal tissues experienced during delivery of traditional stoichiometric chemotherapy and maximises the therapeutic index. (2) The active cell-killing mechanisms, often independent of programmed death mechanisms, should decrease the emergence of acquired drug resistance. (3) Lytic death of cancer cells provides a pro-inflammatory microenvironment and the potential for induction of an anticancer vaccine response. (4) Tumour-selective expression and secretion of encoded anticancer biologics, providing a new realm of potent and cost-effective-targeted therapeutics.