Utility of a Recombinant HSV-1 Vaccine Vector for Personalized Cancer Vaccines

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Current approaches to cancer immunotherapy include immune checkpoint inhibitors, cancer vaccines, and adoptive cellular therapy. These therapies have produced significant clinical success for specific cancers, but their efficacy has been limited. Oncolytic virotherapy (OVT) has emerged as a promising immunotherapy for a variety of cancers. Furthermore, the unique characteristics of OVs make them a good choice for delivering tumor peptides/antigens to induce enhanced tumor-specific immune responses. The first oncolytic virus (OV) approved for human use is the attenuated herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), Talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC) which has been FDA approved for the treatment of melanoma in humans. In this study, we engineered the recombinant oncolytic HSV-1 (oHSV) VC2-OVA expressing a fragment of ovalbumin (OVA) as a fusion protein with VP26 virion capsid protein. We tested the ability of VC2-OVA to act as a vector capable of stimulating strong, specific antitumor immunity in a syngeneic murine melanoma model. Therapeutic vaccination with VC2-OVA led to a significant reduction in colonization of tumor cells in the lungs of mice intravenously challenged B16cOVA cells. In addition, VC2-OVA induced a potent prophylactic antitumor response and extended survival of mice that were intradermally engrafted with B16cOVA tumors compared with mice immunized with control virus.

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