An oncolytic virus is a virus that preferentially infects and kills cancer cells. As the infected cancer cells are destroyed by oncolysis, they release new infectious virus particles or virions to help destroy the remaining tumor. Oncolytic viruses are thought not only to cause direct destruction of the tumor cells, but also to stimulate host anti-tumor immune system responses. The potential of viruses as anti-cancer agents was first realized in the early twentieth century, although coordinated research efforts did not begin until the 1960s. A number of viruses including adenovirus, reovirus, measles, herpes simplex, Newcastle disease virus, and vaccine have been clinically tested as oncolytic agents. Most current oncolytic viruses are engineered for tumor selectivity, although there are naturally occurring examples such as reovirus and the Seneca virus, resulting in clinical trials.
- Oncolytic behaviour of wild-type viruses
- Bio-engineered oncolytic virus for the treatment of cancer
- Recently approved therapeutic agents