Research ArticleCancer Immunotherapy

Oncolytic and Immunotherapeutic Vaccinia Induces Antibody-Mediated Complement-Dependent Cancer Cell Lysis in Humans

Science Translational Medicine  15 May 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 185, pp. 185ra63
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005361

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Abstract

Oncolytic viruses cause direct cytolysis and cancer-specific immunity in preclinical models. The goal of this study was to demonstrate induction of functional anticancer immunity that can lyse target cancer cells in humans. Pexa-Vec (pexastimogene devacirepvec; JX-594) is a targeted oncolytic and immunotherapeutic vaccinia virus engineered to express human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Pexa-Vec demonstrated replication, GM-CSF expression, and tumor responses in previous phase 1 trials. We now evaluated whether Pexa-Vec induced functional anticancer immunity both in the rabbit VX2 tumor model and in patients with diverse solid tumor types in phase 1. Antibody-mediated complement-dependent cancer cell cytotoxicity (CDC) was induced by intravenous Pexa-Vec in rabbits; transfer of serum from Pexa-Vec–treated animals to tumor-bearing animals resulted in tumor necrosis and improved survival. In patients with diverse tumor types treated on a phase 1 trial, CDC developed within 4 to 8 weeks in most patients; normal cells were resistant to the cytotoxic effects. T lymphocyte activation in patients was evidenced by antibody class switching. We determined that patients with the longest survival duration had the highest CDC activity, and identified candidate target tumor cell antigens. Thus, we demonstrated that Pexa-Vec induced polyclonal antibody–mediated CDC against multiple tumor antigens both in rabbits and in patients with diverse solid tumor types.

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