Oncolytic Adenovirus for Cancer Therapy

An ideal cancer therapeutic agent would specifically target malignant cells to kill these cells while avoiding normal tissues. Oncolytics are viruses developed to selectively kill tumor cells by infecting, replicating, and ultimately killing these cells. These agents have the appeal of being "self-amplifying" drugs, because each infected tumor cell produces 10,000 more viruses to amplify the number of killed tumor cells. Adenoviruses have been engineered to achieve cancer specificity by taking advantage of specific traits of certain cancer cell types or by taking advantage of molecular changes intrinsic to oncogenesis. Our lab is working towards developing more specific oncolytic adenoviruses by combining physical targeting of the viruses through ligand-receptor targeting with transcriptional and replicational targeting of virus proliferation and cell killing. Current projects are directed towards targeting oncolytic adenovirus to breast cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, myeloma, and cancer stem cells.