Journal of eISSN: 2373-6453 JHVRV

Human Virology & Retrovirology
Volume 2 Issue 7 - 2015
Viruses: Promising Anti-Oncogenic Virotherapy
Haroun M*
1Department of Animal Resources, Virology Unit, Veterinary Laboratory, Qatar
Received:December 20, 2015 | Published: December 22, 2015
*Corresponding author: Haroun M, Department of Animal Resources, Virology Unit, Veterinary Laboratory, PO Box 23211, Doha, Qatar, Tel: +97444560545; F: +97444653086; Email: ,
Citation: Haroun M (2015) Viruses: Promising Anti-Oncogenic Virotherapy. J Hum Virol Retrovirol 2(7): 00074. DOI: 10.15406/jhvrv.2015.02.00074


While many medical regimes are used to treat oncogenic infections, the emergence of virotherapy has drawn much interest among researchers nowadays. However, many hindrances are facing the use of them, the eminent of which is the development of tumor-resistant viral mutants. A long side with this, much knowledge on the tactics of cancerous infections coupled with better understanding of the biological properties of the viruses and viral genetics have enabled overcoming these difficulties leading to recognition of a panel of new virotherapeutic organisms. This editorial is trying to enumerate some of the oncolytic viral agents that are used in this field.

Keywords: Viruses; RNA viruses; DNA viruses; Viral mutants


In the long hunt for combating oncogenic diseases, the understanding, treating and controlling processes has reached significant levels. With the emergence of many therapies to treat oncongenesis, virotherapy was described. Since the first break through of 1960s, many human and animal viruses were proved experimentally to suppress in vitro and in vivo infectious and non-infectious tumor growths. Based on the replication potentiality of a given virus in cancerous cultures and its oncolytic capacity, a virus could be identified anti-cancerous. Both DNA and RNA viruses of human and animal origin are claimed to be oncolytic agents against many cancer types. DNA viruses; namely avian adenovirus [1-3] and herpes viruses [1,4] are proved to be effective virotherapeutic microbes. Interesting enough, a panel of RNA viruses including orthomyxoviruses, paramyxoviruses, rabdoviruses, picornaviruses, non-human coronaviruses, reoviruses, retroviruses and many, are defined to be oncolytic agents. Newcastle disease virus [5-7], bovine herpesvirus-1 [8-9], bovine herpesvirus-4 [9], feline leukemia virus [10], non-human coronaviruses [11] are animal origin viruses described to combat tumorigenic cultures. Human viruses, namely measles virus [12-13] and herpes simplex virus [14] are well-known oncolytic agents used experimentally to treat tumor cases. Beside, many other viruses including Yaba-like disease virus, sendbis virus, foamy virus, and echovirus-type 1, saimiri virus are also known to be oncolytic [15].

With the fact that most of the available chemotherapeutic preparations are of deleterious side effects, the vector oncolytic viruses are either used alone or synergistically with other chemotherapeutic preparations and radiating regimes. Many efforts are applied to reconstruct their biochemical composition to retain maximum therapeutic yield. The core of these modifications is directed towards combination of three traits; namely targeting, arming and shielding of the vector virus. Efficient targeting of the cancerous element usually happens via introduction of multiple layers of cancer specific elements that would further improve safety and efficiency. While arming is attainable by provision of pro-drug convertases and cytokines expression, shielding of the vector virus for protection from the host immune system is carried through coating with polymers and sequential usage of envelopes and capsids [16].

However, despite much hindrances are facing the use of virotherapies as therapeutics for cancer, the eminent of which is development of tumor-resistant viral mutants, much knowledge of the extend of cancerous infections coupled with better understanding of the biological properties of the viruses and viral genetics have enabled overcoming these difficulties. Despite the fine technology needed to attain this, many indicators of a promising future are on the horizon signaling using virotherapy in the field of oncology.


  1. Wildner O, Blaese RM, Morris JC (1999) Therapy of Colon Cancer with Oncolytic Adenovirus Is Enhanced by the Addition of Herpes Simplex Virus-thymidine kinase. Cancer Res 59(2): 410-413.
  2. Kirn D (2000) Replication-selective oncolytic adenoviruses: virotherapy aimed at genetic targets in cancer. Oncogene 19(56): 6660-6669.
  3. Bernt KM, Ni S, Tieu AT, Lieber A (2005) Assessment of a Combined, Adenovirus-Mediated Oncolytic and immunostimulatory tumor therapy. Cancer Res 65(10): 4343-4352.
  4. Kaufman HL, Kim DW, DeRaffele G, Mitcham J, Coffin RS, et al. (2010) Local and Distant Immunity Induced by Intralesional Vaccination with an Oncolytic Herpes Virus Encoding GM-CSF in Patients with Stage IIIc and IV Melanoma. Annals of Surgical Oncology 17(3): 718-730.
  5. Reichard KW, Lorence RM, Cassino, CJ, Peeples ME, Walter RJ, et al. (1992) Newcastle disease virus selectively kills human tumor cells. J Surg Res 52(5): 448-453.
  6. Schirrmacher V, Haas C, Bonifer R, Ablert T, Gerhards R, et al. (1999) Human tumor cell modification by virus infection: an efficient and safe way to produce cancer vaccine with pleiotropic immune stimulatory properties when using Newcastle disease virus. Gene Therapy 6(1): 63-73.
  7. Fiola C, Peeters B, Fournier P, Arnold A, Bucur M, et al. (2006) Tumor selective replication of Newcastle disease virus: Association with defects of tumor cells in antiviral defense. Int J Cancer 119(2): 328-338.
  8. Rodrigues R, Cuddington B, Mossman K (2010) Bovine herpesvirus type 1 as a novel oncolytic virus. Cancer Gene Ther 17(5): 344-355.
  9. Redaelli M, Franceschi V, Capocefalo A, D’Avella D, Denaro L, et al. (2012) Herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase-armed bovine herpesvirus type 4-based vector displays enhanced oncolytic properties in immunocompetent orthotopic syngenic mouse and rat glioma models. Neuro Oncol 14(3): 288-301.
  10. Kelly E, Stephen J, Russell SJ (2007) History of Oncolytic Viruses: Genesis to Genetic Engineering. Mol Ther 15(4): 651-659.
  11. Würdinger T, Verheije MH, Raaben M, Bosch BJ, de Haan CA, et al. (2005) Targeting non-human coronaviruses to human cancer cells using a bispecific single-chain antibody. Gene Ther 12(18): 1394-1404.
  12. Msaouel P, Dispenzieri A, Galanis E (2009) Clinical testing of engineered oncolytic measles virus strains in the treatment of cancer: An overview. Curr Opin Mol Ther 11(1): 43-53.
  13. Mühlebach MD, Mateo M, Sinn PL, Prüfer S, Uhlig KM, et al. (2011) Adherens junction protein nectin-4 is the epithelial receptor for measles virus. Nature 480(7378): 530-533.
  14. Susan Varghese S, Rabkin SD (2002) Oncolytic herpes simplex virus vectors for cancer virotherapy. Cancer Gene Ther 9(12): 967-978.
  15. Vähä-Koskela MJV, Heikkilä JE, Hinkkanen AE (2007) Oncolytic viruses in cancer therapy. Cancer Lett 254(2): 178-216.
  16. Cattaneo R, Miest T, Shashkova EV, Barry MA (2008) Reprogrammed viruses as cancer therapeutics: targeted, armed and shielded. Nature Reviews Microbiology 6(7): 529-540.
© 2014-2019 MedCrave Group, All rights reserved. No part of this content may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means as per the standard guidelines of fair use.
Creative Commons License Open Access by MedCrave Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at
Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version | Opera |Privacy Policy