Research ArticleCancer

Intratumoral expression of IL-7 and IL-12 using an oncolytic virus increases systemic sensitivity to immune checkpoint blockade

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Science Translational Medicine  15 Jan 2020:
Vol. 12, Issue 526, eaax7992
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aax7992

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A virus with benefits

Oncolytic viruses, which kill cancer cells, have received increasing attention in recent years as the field has advanced toward biological and immune-based approaches to fighting cancer. To help further these viruses’ cancer-fighting potential, Nakao et al. engineered an oncolytic vaccinia virus to deliver two cytokines that help stimulate antitumor immune responses. The authors successfully tested this approach in multiple immunocompetent mouse models, showing promising results in directly treated tumors and in distant tumors of the same type, as well as protection from rechallenge with tumor cells. The treatment was particularly effective in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors, even in tumors unresponsive to checkpoint inhibitors alone.

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