Mesenchymal stromal cells for the delivery of oncolytic viruses in gliomas.
ABSTRACT: Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell that has been exploited for the treatment of a variety of diseases, including cancer. In particular, MSCs have been studied extensively for their ability to treat glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and deadly form of brain cancer in adults. MSCs are attractive therapeutics because they can be obtained relatively easily from patients, are capable of being expanded numerically in vitro, can be easily engineered and are inherently capable of homing to tumors, making them ideal vehicles for delivering biological antitumoral agents. Oncolytic viruses are promising biological therapeutic agents that have been used in the treatment of GBMs, and MSCs are currently being explored as a means of delivering these viruses. Here we review the role of MSCs in the treatment of GBMs, focusing on the intersection of MSCs and oncolytic viruses.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) loaded with oncolytic viruses are presently being investigated as a new modality of advanced/metastatic tumors treatment and enhancement of virotherapy. MSCs can, however, either promote or suppress tumor growth. To address the critical question of how MSCs loaded with oncolytic viruses affect virotherapy outcomes and tumor growth patterns in a tumor microenvironment, we developed and analyzed an integrated mathematical-experimental model. We used the model to describe both the growth dynamics in our experiments of firefly luciferase-expressing Hep3B tumor xenografts and the effects of the immune response during the MSCs-based virotherapy. We further employed it to explore the conceptual clinical feasibility, particularly, in evaluating the relative significance of potential immune promotive/suppressive mechanisms induced by MSCs loaded with oncolytic viruses. We were able to delineate conditions which may significantly contribute to the success or failure of MSC-based virotherapy as well as generate new hypotheses. In fact, one of the most impactful outcomes shown by this investigation, not inferred from the experiments alone, was the initially counter-intuitive fact that using tumor-promoting MSCs as carriers is not only helpful but necessary in achieving tumor control. Considering the fact that it is still currently a controversial debate whether MSCs exert a pro- or anti-tumor action, mathematical models such as this one help to quantitatively predict the consequences of using MSCs for delivering virotherapeutic agents in vivo. Taken together, our results show that MSC-mediated systemic delivery of oncolytic viruses is a promising strategy for achieving synergistic anti-tumor efficacy with improved safety profiles.
Project description:The licensing of talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec) represented a landmark moment for oncolytic virotherapy, since it provided unequivocal evidence for the long-touted potential of genetically modified replicating viruses as anti-cancer agents. Whilst T-Vec is promising as a locally delivered virotherapy, especially in combination with immune-checkpoint inhibitors, the quest continues for a virus capable of specific tumour cell killing via systemic administration. One candidate is oncolytic adenovirus (Ad); it’s double stranded DNA genome is easily manipulated and a wide range of strategies and technologies have been employed to empower the vector with improved pharmacokinetics and tumour targeting ability. As well characterised clinical and experimental agents, we have detailed knowledge of adenoviruses’ mechanisms of pathogenicity, supported by detailed virological studies and in vivo interactions. In this review we highlight the strides made in the engineering of bespoke adenoviral vectors to specifically infect, replicate within, and destroy tumour cells. We discuss how mutations in genes regulating adenoviral replication after cell entry can be used to restrict replication to the tumour, and summarise how detailed knowledge of viral capsid interactions enable rational modification to eliminate native tropisms, and simultaneously promote active uptake by cancerous tissues. We argue that these designer-viruses, exploiting the viruses natural mechanisms and regulated at every level of replication, represent the ideal platforms for local overexpression of therapeutic transgenes such as immunomodulatory agents. Where T-Vec has paved the way, Ad-based vectors now follow. The era of designer oncolytic virotherapies looks decidedly as though it will soon become a reality.
Project description:Oncolytic viruses (OVs) are highly immunogenic and this limits their use in immune-competent hosts. Although immunosuppression may improve viral oncolysis, this gain is likely achieved at the cost of antitumoral immunity. We have developed a strategy wherein the immune response against the OV leads to enhanced therapeutic outcomes. We demonstrate that immunization with an adenoviral (Ad) vaccine before treatment with an oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) expressing the same tumor antigen (Ag) leads to significantly enhanced antitumoral immunity. Intratumoral replication of VSV was minimally attenuated in Ad-immunized hosts but extending the interval between treatments reduced the attenuating effect and further increased antitumoral immunity. More importantly, our combination approach shifted the immune response from viral Ags to tumor Ags and further reduced OV replication in normal tissues, leading to enhancements in both efficacy and safety. These studies also highlight the benefits of using a replicating, OV to boost a pre-existing antitumoral immune response as this approach generated larger responses versus tumor Ag in tumor-bearing hosts than could be achieved in tumor-free hosts. This strategy should be applicable to other vector combinations, tumor Ags, and tumor targets.
Project description:Celyvir (autologous mesenchymal cells -MSCs- that carry an oncolytic adenovirus) is a new therapeutic strategy for metastatic tumors developed by our research group over the last decade. There are limitations for studying the immune effects of human oncolytic adenoviruses in murine models since these viruses do not replicate naturally in these animals. The use of xenografts in immunodeficient mice prevent assessing important clinical aspects of this therapy such as the antiadenoviral immune response or the possible intratumoral immune changes, both of tumor infiltrating leukocytes and of the microenvironment. In our strategy, the presence of MSCs in the medicinal product adds an extra level of complexity. We present here a murine model that overcomes many of these limitations. We found that carrier cells outcompeted intravenous administration of naked particles in delivering the oncolytic virus into the tumor masses. The protection that MSCs could provide to the oncolytic adenovirus did not preclude the development of an antiadenoviral immune response. However, the presence of circulating antiadenoviral antibodies did not prevent changes detected at the tumor masses: increased infiltration and changes in the quality of immune cells per unit of tumor volume, and a less protumoral and more inflammatory profile of the tumor microenvironment. We believe that the model described here will enable the study of crucial events related to the immune responses affecting both the medicinal product and the tumor.
Project description:As a new class of cancer therapeutic agents, oncolytic viruses (OVs) have gained much attention not only due to their ability to selectively replicate in and lyse tumor cells, but also for their potential to stimulate antitumor immune responses. As a result, there is an increasing need for in vitro modeling systems capable of recapitulating the 3D physiological tumor microenvironment. Here, we investigated the potential of our recently developed microphysiological system (MPS), featuring a vessel-like channel to reflect the in vivo tumor microenvironment and serving as culture spaces for 3D multicellular tumor spheroids (MCTSs). The MCTSs consist of cancer A549 cells, stromal MRC5 cells, endothelial HUVECs, as well as the extracellular matrix. 3D MCTSs residing in the MPS were infected with oncolytic VSV expressing GFP (oVSV-GFP). Post-infection, GFP signal intensity increased only in A549 cells of the MPS. On the other hand, HUVECs were susceptible to virus infection under 2D culture and IFN-? secretion was quite delayed in HUVECs. These results thus demonstrate that OV antitumoral characteristics can be readily monitored in the MPS and that its behavior therein somewhat differs compared to its activity in 2D system. In conclusion, we present the first application of the MPS, an in vitro model that was developed to better reflect in vivo conditions. Its various advantages suggest the 3D MCTS-integrated MPS can serve as a first line monitoring system to validate oncolytic virus efficacy.
Project description:Breast cancer continues to be a leading cause of mortality among women. While at an early stage, localized breast cancer is easily treated; however, advanced stages of disease continue to carry a high mortality rate. The discrepancy in treatment success highlights that current treatments are insufficient to treat advanced-stage breast cancer. As new and improved treatments have been sought, one therapeutic approach has gained considerable attention. Oncolytic viruses are uniquely capable of targeting cancer cells through intrinsic or engineered means. They come in many forms, mainly from four major virus groups as defined by the Baltimore classification system. These vectors can target and kill cancer cells, and even stimulate immunotherapeutic effects in patients. This review discusses not only individual oncolytic viruses pursued in the context of breast cancer treatment but also the emergence of combination therapies with current or new therapies, which has become a particularly promising strategy for treatment of breast cancer. Overall, oncolytic virotherapy is a promising strategy for increased treatment efficacy for advanced breast cancer and consequently provides a unique platform for personalized treatments in patients.
Project description:PARP inhibitors are mostly effective as anticancer drugs in association with DNA damaging agents. We have previously shown that the oncolytic adenovirus dl922-947 induces extensive DNA damage, therefore we hypothesized a synergistic antitumoral effect of the PARP inhibitor olaparib in association with dl922-947. Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma was chosen as model since it is a particularly aggressive tumor and, because of its localized growth, it is suitable for intratumoral treatment with oncolytic viruses. Here, we show that dl922-947 infection induces PARP activation, and we confirm in vitro and in vivo that PARP inhibition increases dl922-947 replication and oncolytic activity. In vitro, the combination with olaparib exacerbates the appearance of cell death markers, such as Annexin V positivity, caspase 3 cleavage, cytochrome C release and propidium iodide permeability. In vivo, we also observed a better viral distribution upon PARP inhibition. Changes in CD31 levels suggest a direct effect of olaparib on tumor vascularization and on the viral distribution within the tumor mass. The observation that PARP inhibition enhances the effects of dl922-947 is highly promising not only for the treatment of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma but, in general, for the treatment of other tumors that could benefit from the use of oncolytic viruses.
Project description:Recent developments in therapeutic strategies have improved the prognosis of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Nevertheless, 5-year survival rate remains only 40%, necessitating new therapeutic agents. Oncolytic virotherapy entails use of replication-competent viruses to selectively kill cancer cells. We aimed to explore the potential of HF10 as an oncolytic virus against human or mouse HNSCC cell lines, and primary-cultured HNSCC cells. HF10 replicated well in all the HNSCC cells, in which it induced cytopathic effects and cell killing. Next, we investigated the oncolytic effects of HF10 in ear tumor models with human or mouse tumor cells. We detected HF10-infected cells within the ear tumors based on their expression of green fluorescent protein. HF10 injection suppressed ear tumor growth and prolonged overall survival. In the syngeneic model, HF10 infection induced tumor necrosis with infiltration of CD8-positive cells. Moreover, the splenocytes of HF10-treated mice released antitumor cytokines, IL-2, IL-12, IFN-alpha, IFN-beta, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha, after stimulation with tumor cells in vitro. The HF10-treated mice that survived their original tumor burdens rejected tumor cells upon re-challenge. These results suggested that HF10 killed HNSCC cells and induced antitumoral immunity, thereby establishing it as a promising agent for the treatment of HNSCC patients.
Project description:Oncolytic viruses represent a new class of therapeutic agents that promote anti-tumour responses through a dual mechanism of action that is dependent on selective tumour cell killing and the induction of systemic anti-tumour immunity. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of action are not fully elucidated but are likely to depend on viral replication within transformed cells, induction of primary cell death, interaction with tumour cell antiviral elements and initiation of innate and adaptive anti-tumour immunity. A variety of native and genetically modified viruses have been developed as oncolytic agents, and the approval of the first oncolytic virus by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is anticipated in the near future. This Review provides a comprehensive overview of the basic biology supporting oncolytic viruses as cancer therapeutic agents, describes oncolytic viruses in advanced clinical trials and discusses the unique challenges in the development of oncolytic viruses as a new class of drugs for the treatment of cancer.
Project description:Oncolytic virotherapy is gaining interest in the clinic as a new weapon against cancer. In vivo administration of oncolytic viruses showed important limitations that decrease their effectiveness very significantly: the antiviral immune response causes the elimination of the therapeutic effect, and the poor natural ability of oncolytic viruses to infect micrometastatic lesions significantly minimizes the effective dose of virus. This review will focus on updating the technical and scientific foundations of one of the strategies developed to overcome these limitations, ie, using cells as vehicles for oncolytic viruses. Among many candidates, a special type of adult stem cell, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have already been used in the clinic as cell vehicles for oncolytic viruses, partly due to the fact that these cells are actively being evaluated for other indications. MSC carrier cells are used as Trojan horses loaded with oncoviruses, are administered systemically, and release their cargos at the right places. MSCs are equipped with an array of molecules involved in cell arrest in the capillaries (integrins and selectins), migration toward specific parenchymal locations within tissues (chemokine receptors), and invasion and degradation of the extracellular matrix (proteases). In addition to anatomical targeting capacity, MSCs have a well-recognized role in modulating immune responses by affecting cells of the innate (antigen-presenting cells, natural killer cells) and adaptive immune system (effector and regulatory lymphocytes). Therefore, carrier MSCs may also modulate the immune responses taking place after therapy, ie, the antiviral and the antitumor immune responses.