Our goal is to develop novel anti-tumor strategies using oncolytic viruses in combination with anticancer agents for cancer treatment. Oncolytic virotherapy is a promising new experimental approach and several viruses have shown promise in animal tumor models including those that are refractory to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, there are significant barriers to clinical efficacy of this approach including:
- Antibody-mediated neutralization of systemically administered viruses;
- poor extravasation of the viruses at the sites of tumor growth, followed by limited intratumoral spread of the viruses; and
- innate immune response mediated suppression of viral replicating in tumors.
The efforts of our lab are to identify either the classical chemotherapy drugs or the newly developed anticancer agents that can enhance the virotherapy through manipulating host response including both innate and adaptive antiviral immune response, conditioning tumor microvasculature, or/and sensitizing tumor cell death (oncolysis). The results of these studies will provide further insight into the mechanisms of therapeutic synergies, which would be valuable in the rational design of future clinical trials involving oncolytic virotherapy. In addition, we have been interested in the development of novel viral vectors to enhance gene transfer (into different types of cells) and gene therapy for cancer. This includes both the viral vector design through genetically engineering viral genome and the functional test of newly developed vectors in vitro and in vivo.
Ongoing research activities in the lab:
- Characterize cancer metastases in mice models
- Combination therapy of oncolytic viruses and anti-cancer agents
- Characterize T cells that have been engineered with scFv-anti-erbB2 chimeric receptor