Background & Aims
Although attenuated measles virus (MV) has demonstrated potent oncolytic activities towards human cancers, it has not yet been widely adopted into clinical practice. One of the major hurdles is the presence of pre-existing anti-MV immunity in the recipients. In this study, we have evaluated the combination of the potent oncolytic activity of the attenuated MV with the unique immunoprivileged and tumor-tropic biological properties of human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-hMSCs) to combat human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), orthotopically implanted in SCID mice, passively immunized with human neutralizing antibodies against MV as a preclinical model.
SCID mice were orthotopically implanted with patient-derived HCC tissues and established HCC cell lines. SCID mice were passively immunized with human neutralizing anti-measles antibodies. Bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging were employed to monitor the ability of systemically delivered MV-infected BM-hMSCs to infiltrate the implanted tumors and their effects on tumor growth.
Systemically delivered MV-infected BM-hMSCs homed to the HCC tumors implanted orthotopically in the liver and it was evidenced that BM-hMSCs could transfer MV infectivity to HCC via heterofusion. Furthermore, therapy with MV-infected BM-hMSCs resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth in both measles antibody-naïve and passively-immunized SCID mice. By contrast, when cell-free MV viruses were delivered systemically, antitumor activity was evident only in measles antibody-naïve SCID mice.
MV-infected BM-hMSCs cell delivery system provides a feasible strategy to elude the presence of immunity against MV in most of the potential cancer patients to be treated with the oncolytic MV viruses.
Systemic virotherapy; Oncolytic measles virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Orthotopically implanted HCC tumor model; Mesenchymal stem cells as cell delivery vehicles; Human neutralizing antibody
Current adjuvant therapy for advanced-stage, recurrent, and high-risk endometrial cancer (EC) has not reduced mortality from this malignancy, and novel systemic therapies are imperative. Oncolytic viral therapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of gynecologic cancers, and we investigated the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of the Edmonston strain of measles virus (MV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) on EC.
Human EC cell lines (HEC-1-A, Ishikawa, KLE, RL95-2, AN3 CA, ARK-1, ARK-2, and SPEC-2) were infected with Edmonston strain MV expressing the thyroidal sodium iodide symporter, VSV expressing either human or murine IFN-β, or recombinant VSV with a methionine deletion at residue 51 of the matrix protein and expressing the sodium iodide symporter. Xenografts of HEC-1-A and AN3 CA generated in athymic mice were treated with intratumoral MV or VSV or intravenous VSV.
In vitro, all cell lines were susceptible to infection and cell killing by all 3 VSV strains except KLE. In addition, the majority of EC cell lines were defective in their ability to respond to type I IFN. Intratumoral VSV–treated tumors regressed more rapidly than MV-treated tumors, and intravenous VSV resulted in effective tumor control in 100% of mice. Survival was significantly longer for mice treated with any of the 3 VSV strains compared with saline.
VSV is clearly more potent in EC oncolysis than MV. A phase 1 clinical trial of VSV in EC is warranted.
VSV-IFNβ-NIS is a novel recombinant oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) with documented efficacy and safety in preclinical murine models of cancer. To facilitate clinical translation of this promising oncolytic therapy in patients with disseminated cancer, we are utilizing a comparative oncology approach to gather data describing the safety and efficacy of systemic VSV-IFNβ-NIS administration in dogs with naturally occurring cancer. In support of this, we executed a dose-escalation study in purpose-bred dogs to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of systemic VSV-hIFNβ-NIS, characterize the adverse event profile, and describe routes and duration of viral shedding in healthy, immune-competent dogs. The data indicate that an intravenous dose of 1010 TCID50 is well tolerated in dogs. Expected adverse events were mild to moderate fever, self-limiting nausea and vomiting, lymphopenia, and oral mucosal lesions. Unexpected adverse events included prolongation of partial thromboplastin time, development of bacterial urinary tract infection, and scrotal dermatitis, and in one dog receiving 1011 TCID50 (10×the MTD), the development of severe hepatotoxicity and symptoms of shock leading to euthanasia. Viral shedding data indicate that detectable viral genome in blood diminishes rapidly with anti-VSV neutralizing antibodies detectable in blood as early as day 5 postintravenous virus administration. While low levels of viral genome copies were detectable in plasma, urine, and buccal swabs of dogs treated at the MTD, no infectious virus was detectable in plasma, urine, or buccal swabs at any of the doses tested. These studies confirm that VSV can be safely administered systemically in dogs, justifying the use of oncolytic VSV as a novel therapy for the treatment of canine cancer.
Because of its very low human seroprevalence, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has promise as a systemic oncolytic agent for human cancer therapy. However, as demonstrated in this report, the VSV infectious titer drops by 4 log units during the first hour of exposure to nonimmune human serum. This neutralization occurs relatively slowly and is mediated by the concerted actions of natural IgM and complement. Maraba virus, whose G protein is about 80% homologous to that of VSV, is relatively resistant to the neutralizing activity of nonimmune human serum. We therefore constructed and rescued a recombinant VSV whose G gene was replaced by the corresponding gene from Maraba virus. Comparison of the parental VSV and VSV with Maraba G substituted revealed nearly identical host range properties and replication kinetics on a panel of tumor cell lines. Moreover, in contrast to the parental VSV, the VSV with Maraba G substituted was resistant to nonimmune human serum. Overall, our data suggest that VSV with Maraba G substituted should be further investigated as a candidate for human systemic oncolytic virotherapy applications.
IMPORTANCE Oncolytic virotherapy is a promising approach for the treatment of disseminated cancers, but antibody neutralization of circulating oncolytic virus particles remains a formidable barrier. In this work, we developed a pseudotyped vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) with a glycoprotein of Maraba virus, a closely related but serologically distinct member of the family Rhabdoviridae, which demonstrated greatly diminished susceptibility to both nonimmune and VSV-immune serum neutralization. VSV with Maraba G substituted or lentiviral vectors should therefore be further investigated as candidates for human systemic oncolytic virotherapy and gene therapy applications.
MV-NIS is an engineered measles virus that is selectively destructive to myeloma plasma cells and can be monitored by noninvasive radioiodine imaging of NIS gene expression. Two measles-seronegative patients with relapsing drug-refractory myeloma and multiple glucose-avid plasmacytomas were treated by intravenous infusion of 1011 TCID50 (50% tissue culture infectious dose) infectious units of MV-NIS. Both patients responded to therapy with M protein reduction and resolution of bone marrow plasmacytosis. Further, one patient experienced durable complete remission at all disease sites. Tumor targeting was clearly documented by NIS-mediated radioiodine uptake in virus-infected plasmacytomas. Toxicities resolved within the first week after therapy. Oncolytic viruses offer a promising new modality for the targeted infection and destruction of disseminated cancer.
Helicobacter pylori neutrophil-activating protein (NAP) is a toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) agonist and potent immunomodulator inducing Th1-type immune response. Here we present data about characterization of the humoral immune response against NAP-tagged antigens, encoded by attenuated measles virus (MV) vector platform, in MV infection susceptible type I interferon receptor knockout and human CD46 transgenic (Ifnarko-CD46Ge) mice. Immunogenicity of MV expressing a full-length human immunoglobulin lambda light chain (MV-lambda) was compared to that of MV expressing lambda-NAP chimeric protein (MV-lambda-NAP). MV-lambda-NAP immunized Ifnarko-CD46Ge mice developed significantly higher (6–20-fold) anti-lambda ELISA titers as compared to the MV-lambda-immunized control animal group, indicating that covalently-linked NAP co-expression significantly enhanced lambda immunogenicity. In contrast, ELISA titers against MV antigens were not significantly different between the animals vaccinated with MV-lambda or MV-lambda-NAP. NAP-tagged antigen expression did not affect development of protective anti-measles immunity. Both MV-lambda and MV-lambda-NAP-immunized groups showed strong virus neutralization serum titers in plaque reduction microneutralization test. These results demonstrated that MV-encoded lambda-NAP is highly immunogenic as compared to the unmodified full-length lambda chain. Boost of immune response to poor immunogens using live vectors expressing NAP-tagged chimeric antigens is an attractive approach with potential application in immunoprophylaxis of infectious diseases and cancer immunotherapy.
Helicobacter pylori; Neutrophil-activating protein; Chimeric antigens; Immunogenicity; Measles virus vaccine
Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) is neuropathogenic in rodents but can be attenuated 50-fold by engineering the mouse interferon-beta (IFN-β) gene into its genome. Intravenously administered VSVs encoding IFN-β have potent activity against subcutaneous tumors in the 5TGM1 mouse myeloma model, without attendant neurotoxicity. However, when 5TGM1 tumor cells were seeded intravenously, virus-treated mice with advanced myeloma developed clinical signs suggestive of meningoencephalitis. Co-administration of a known active antimyeloma agent did not prolong survival, further suggesting that deaths were due to viral toxicity, not tumor burden. Histological analysis revealed that systemically administered 5TGM1 cells seed to the CNS forming meningeal tumor deposits and that VSV infects and destroys these tumors. Death is presumably a consequence of meningeal damage and/or direct transmission of virus to adjacent neural tissue. In light of these studies, extreme caution is warranted in clinical testing of attenuated VSVs, particularly in patients with CNS tumor deposits.
Neutralizing antibodies directed against measles virus (MV) surface glycoproteins prevent viral attachment and entry through the natural receptors. H protein specific IgG can enhance MV infectivity in macrophages via Fcγ receptor (FcγR)-dependent mechanism. H-specific IgM, anti-F antibodies and complement cascade activation are protective against antibody-mediated enhancement of MV infection. However, protective role of anti-H IgG against antibody-enhanced infection is not well understood. Here we designed a set of experiments to test the protective effect of H-specific IgG against FcγR-mediated infection in microglial cells. Microglial cells are also potential target of the antibody-mediated enhancement and spread of MV infection in the central nervous system. A partially neutralizing IgG monoclonal antibody (MAb) CL55, specific for MV H protein, at 10 μg/ml enhanced MV infection in mouse microglial cells by 13-14-fold. Infection-enhancing antibody concentrations induced large multinucleated syncytia formation 48-72 h post inoculation. We generated anti-H IgG MAb 20H6 with a strong neutralization capacity >1:80,000 at 1 mg/ml concentration in MV plaque-reduction neutralization assay. In contrast to the partially protective MAb CL55, enhancement of MV infectivity by MAb 20H6 required dilutions below the 1:120 serum titer considered protective against measles infection in humans. At a concentration of 10 μg/ml MAb 20H6 exhibited a dominant protective effect and prevented MAb CL55-mediated enhancement of MV infection and virus-mediated fusion. These results indicate that neutralization capacity of the H-specific IgG determines the balance between antibody enhancement and protection against MV infection in microglial cells.
measles virus; microglial cells; antibody-enhanced infection
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor in adults and has a dismal prognosis despite multimodality treatment. Given the resistance of glioma stem cells (GSC) to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, their eradication could prevent tumor recurrence. We sought to evaluate the antitumor activity of MV derivatives against GSC. We generated neurosphere cultures from patient derived primary tumor GBM xenografts, and we characterized them for the GSC markers CD133, SOX2, Nestin, ATF5 and OLIG2. Using the MV-strains MV-GFP, MV-CEA and MV-NIS we demonstrated infection, viral replication and significant cytopathic effect in vitro against GSC lines. In tumorigenicity experiments, GBM 44 GSC were infected with MV in vitro and subsequently implanted into the right caudate nucleus of nude mice: significant prolongation of survival in mice implanted with infected GSC was observed, compared to mock infected controls (p=0.0483). In therapy experiments in GBM6 and GBM12 GSC xenograft models, there was significant prolongation of survival in MV-GFP treated animals compared to inactivated virus treated controls (GBM6 p=0.0021, GBM12 p=0.0416). Abundant syncytia and viral replication was demonstrated in tumors of MV treated mice. Conclusion: Measles virus derivatives have significant antitumor activity against glioma derived stem cells in vitro and in vivo.
measles virus; gliomas; stem cells; MV-CEA; MV-NIS
We are developing oncolytic vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSVs) for systemic treatment of multiple myeloma, an incurable malignancy of antibody-secreting plasma cells that are specifically localized in the bone marrow. One of the presumed advantages for using VSV as an oncolytic virus is that human infections are rare and preexisting anti-VSV immunity is typically lacking in cancer patients, which is very important for clinical success. However, our studies show that nonimmune human and mouse serum can neutralize clinical-grade VSV, reducing the titer by up to 4 log units in 60 min. In addition, we show that neutralizing anti-VSV antibodies negate the antitumor efficacy of VSV, a concern for repeat VSV administration. We have investigated the potential use of covalent modification of VSV with polyethylene glycol (PEG) or a function-spacer-lipid (FSL)–PEG construct to inhibit serum neutralization and to limit hepatosplenic sequestration of systemically delivered VSV. We report that in mice passively immunized with neutralizing anti-VSV antibodies, PEGylation of VSV improved the persistence of VSV in the blood circulation, maintaining a more than 1-log-unit increase in VSV genome copies for up to 1 h compared to the genome copy numbers for the non-PEGylated virus, which was mostly cleared within 10 min after intravenous injection. We are currently investigating if this increase in PEGylated VSV circulating half-life can translate to increased virus delivery and better efficacy in mouse models of multiple myeloma.
Simple, inductive mathematical models of oncolytic virotherapy are needed to guide protocol design and improve treatment outcomes. Analysis of plasmacytomas regressing after a single intravenous dose of oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus in myeloma animal models revealed that intratumoral virus spread was spatially constrained, occurring almost exclusively through radial expansion of randomly distributed infectious centers. From these experimental observations we developed a simple model to calculate the probability of survival for any cell within a treated tumor. The model predicted that small changes to the density of initially infected cells or to the average maximum radius of infected centers would have a major impact on treatment outcome, and this was confirmed experimentally. The new model provides a useful and flexible tool for virotherapy protocol optimization.
Current therapy for multiple myeloma is complex and prolonged. Antimyeloma drugs are combined in induction, consolidation and/or maintenance protocols to destroy bulky disease, then suppress or eradicate residual disease. Oncolytic viruses have the potential to mediate both tumor debulking and residual disease elimination, but this curative paradigm remains unproven. Here we engineered an oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus to minimize its neurotoxicity, enhance induction of antimyeloma immunity, and facilitate noninvasive monitoring of its intratumoral spread. Using high resolution imaging, autoradiography and immunohistochemistry, we demonstrate that the intravenously administered virus extravasates from tumor blood vessels in immunocompetent myeloma-bearing mice, nucleating multiple intratumoral infectious centers which expand rapidly and necrose at their centers, ultimately coalescing to cause extensive tumor destruction. This oncolytic tumor debulking phase lasts only for 72 hours after virus administration, and is completed before antiviral antibodies become detectable in the bloodstream. Anti-myeloma T cells, cross-primed as the virus-infected cells provoke an antiviral immune response, then eliminate residual uninfected myeloma cells. The study establishes a curative oncolytic paradigm for multiple myeloma where direct tumor debulking and immune eradication of minimal disease are mediated by a single intravenous dose of a single therapeutic agent. Clinical translation is underway.
Oncolytic Virotherapy; multiple myeloma; Vesicular Stomatitis Virus; Intravenous; Immunotherapy
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can serve as carriers to deliver oncolytic measles virus (MV) to ovarian tumors. In preparation for a clinical trial to use MSC as MV carriers, we obtained cells from ovarian cancer patients and evaluated feasibility and safety of this approach.
MSC from adipose tissues of healthy donors (hMSC) and nine ovarian cancer patients (ovMSC) were characterized for susceptibility to virus infection and tumor homing abilities.
Adipose tissue (range 0.16-3.96 grams) from newly diagnosed and recurrent ovarian cancer patients yielded about 7.41×106 cells at passage 1 (range 4–9 days). Phenotype and doubling times of MSC were similar between ovarian patients and healthy controls. The time to harvest of 3.0×108 cells (clinical dose) could be achieved by day 14 (range, 9–17 days). Two of nine samples tested had an abnormal karyotype represented by trisomy 20. Despite receiving up to 1.6×109 MSC/kg, no tumors were seen in SCID beige mice and MSC did not promote the growth of SKOV3 human ovarian cancer cells in mice. The ovMSC migrated towards primary ovarian cancer samples in chemotaxis assays and to ovarian tumors in athymic mice. Using non-invasive SPECT-CT imaging, we saw rapid co-localization, within 5–8 minutes of intraperitoneal administration of MV infected MSC to the ovarian tumors. Importantly, MSC can be pre-infected with MV, stored in liquid nitrogen and thawed on the day of infusion into mice without loss of activity. MV infected MSC, but not virus alone, significantly prolonged the survival of measles immune ovarian cancer bearing animals.
These studies confirmed the feasibility of using patient derived MSC as carriers for oncolytic MV therapy. We propose an approach where MSC from ovarian cancer patients will be expanded, frozen and validated to ensure compliance with the release criteria. On the treatment day, the cells will be thawed, washed, mixed with virus, briefly centrifuged and incubated for 2 hours with virus prior to infusion of the virus/MSC cocktail into patients.
Mesenchymal stem cell; Virotherapy; Ovarian cancer; Safety; Efficacy; Optimization
The avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV) family of retroviruses contains five highly related envelope subgroups (A to E) thought to have evolved from a common viral ancestor in the chicken population. Three genetic loci in chickens determine the susceptibility or resistance of cells to infection by the subgroup A to E ASLVs. Some inbred lines of chickens display phenotypes that are somewhere in between either efficiently susceptible or resistant to infection by specific subgroups of ASLV. The tvb gene encodes the receptor for subgroups B, D, and E ASLVs. The wild-type TvbS1 receptor confers susceptibility to subgroups B, D, and E ASLVs. In this study, the genetic defect that accounts for the altered susceptibility of an inbred chicken line, line M, to infection by ASLV(B), ASLV(D), and ASLV(E) was identified. The tvb gene in line M, tvbr2, encodes a mutant TvbS1 receptor protein with a substitution of a serine for a cysteine at position 125 (C125S). Here, we show that the C125S substitution in TvbS1 significantly reduces the susceptibility of line M cells to infection by ASLV(B) and ASLV(D) and virtually eliminates susceptibility to ASLV(E) infection both in cultured cells and in the incidence and growth of avian sarcoma virus-induced sarcomas in chickens. The C125S substitution significantly reduces the binding affinity of the TvbS1 receptor for the subgroup B, D, and E ASLV envelope glycoproteins. These are the first results that demonstrate a possible role of the cysteine-rich domain 3 in the function of the Tvb receptors.
The purpose of our study was to validate the ability of pinhole micro-single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) to 1) accurately resolve the intratumoral dispersion pattern and 2) quantify the infection percentage in solid tumors of an oncolytic measles virus encoding the human sodium iodide symporter (MV-NIS). NIS RNA level and dispersion pattern were determined in control and MV-NIS infected BxPC-3 pancreatic tumor cells and mouse xenografts using quantitative, real-time, reverse transcriptase, polymerase chain reaction, autoradiography, and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Mice with BxPC-3 xenografts were imaged with 123I or 99TcO4 micro-SPECT/CT. Tumor dimensions and radionuclide localization were determined with imaging software. Linear regression and correlation analyses were performed to determine the relationship between tumor infection percentage and radionuclide uptake (% injected dose per gram) above background and a highly significant correlation was observed (r2 = 0.947). A detection threshold of 1.5-fold above the control tumor uptake (background) yielded a sensitivity of 2.7% MV-NIS infected tumor cells. We reliably resolved multiple distinct intratumoral zones of infection from noninfected regions. Pinhole micro-SPECT/CT imaging using the NIS reporter demonstrated precise localization and quantitation of oncolytic MV-NIS infection and can replace more time-consuming and expensive analyses (eg, autoradiography and IHC) that require animal sacrifice.
NIS; measles virus; micro-SPECT/CT; oncolytic virus; quantitation; sodium iodide symporter
Off target binding or vector sequestration can significantly limit the efficiency of systemic virotherapy. We report here that systemically administered oncolytic measles virus (MV) was rapidly sequestered by the mononuclear phagocytic system (MPS) of the liver and spleen in measles receptor CD46-positive and CD46-negative mice. Since scavenger receptors on Kupffer cells are responsible for the elimination of blood-borne pathogens, we investigated here if MV uptake was mediated by scavenger receptors on Kupffer cells. Pretreatment of cells with poly(I), a scavenger receptor ligand, reduced MV expression by 99% in murine (J774A.1) macrophages and by 50% in human (THP-1) macrophages. Pre-dosing of mice with poly(I) reduced MPS sequestration of MV and increased circulating levels of MV by 4 to 15-folds at 2 minutes post virus administration. Circulating virus was still detectable 30 mins post infusion in mice predosed with poly(I) while no detectable MV was found at 5–10 min post infusion if mice did not receive poly(I). MPS blockade by poly(I) enhanced virus delivery to human ovarian SKOV3ip.1 and myeloma KAS6/1 xenografts in mice. Higher gene expression and improved control of tumor growth was noted early post therapy. Based on these results, incorporation of MPS blockade into MV treatment regimens is warranted.
oncolytic measles virus; mononuclear phagocytic system; sequestration; poly(I); scavenger receptor; SKOV3ip.1; KAS6/1
Gene therapy has held promise to correct various disease processes. Prostate cancer represents the second leading cause of cancer death in American men. A number of clinical trials involving gene therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer have been reported. The ability to efficiently transduce tumors with effective levels of therapeutic genes has been identified as a fundamental barrier to effective cancer gene therapy. The approach utilizing gene therapy in prostate cancer patients at our institution attempts to address this deficiency. The sodium-iodide symporter (NIS) is responsible for the ability of the thyroid gland to transport and concentrate iodide. The characteristics of the NIS gene suggest that it could represent an ideal therapeutic gene for cancer therapy. Published results from Mayo Clinic researchers have indicated several important successes with the use of the NIS gene and prostate gene therapy. Studies have demonstrated that transfer of the human NIS gene into prostate cancer using adenovirus vectors in vitro and in vivo results in efficient uptake of radioactive iodine and significant tumor growth delay with prolongation of survival. Preclinical successes have culminated in the opening of a phase I trial for patients with advanced prostate disease which is currently accruing patients. Further study will reveal the clinical promise of NIS gene therapy in the treatment of prostate as well as other malignancies.
gene therapy; sodium-iodide symporter; prostate cancer
The five highly related envelope subgroups of the avian sarcoma and leukosis viruses (ASLVs), subgroup A [ASLV(A)] to ASLV(E), are thought to have evolved from an ancestral envelope glycoprotein yet utilize different cellular proteins as receptors. Alleles encoding the subgroup A ASLV receptors (Tva), members of the low-density lipoprotein receptor family, and the subgroup B, D, and E ASLV receptors (Tvb), members of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family, have been identified and cloned. However, alleles encoding the subgroup C ASLV receptors (Tvc) have not been cloned. Previously, we established a genetic linkage between tvc and several other nearby genetic markers on chicken chromosome 28, including tva. In this study, we used this information to clone the tvc gene and identify the Tvc receptor. A bacterial artificial chromosome containing a portion of chicken chromosome 28 that conferred susceptibility to ASLV(C) infection was identified. The tvc gene was identified on this genomic DNA fragment and encodes a 488-amino-acid protein most closely related to mammalian butyrophilins, members of the immunoglobulin protein family. We subsequently cloned cDNAs encoding Tvc that confer susceptibility to infection by subgroup C viruses in chicken cells resistant to ASLV(C) infection and in mammalian cells that do not normally express functional ASLV receptors. In addition, normally susceptible chicken DT40 cells were resistant to ASLV(C) infection after both tvc alleles were disrupted by homologous recombination. Tvc binds the ASLV(C) envelope glycoproteins with low-nanomolar affinity, an affinity similar to that of binding of Tva and Tvb with their respective envelope glycoproteins. We have also identified a mutation in the tvc gene in line L15 chickens that explains why this line is resistant to ASLV(C) infection.
Toxicology studies were performed in rats and rhesus macaques to establish a safe starting dose for intratumoral injection of an oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus expressing human interferon-β (VSV-hIFNβ) in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). No adverse events were observed after administration of 7.59 × 109 TCID50 (50% tissue culture infective dose) of VSV-hIFNβ into the left lateral hepatic lobe of Harlan Sprague Dawley rats. Plasma alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase levels increased and platelet counts decreased in the virus-treated animals on days 1 and 2 but returned to pretreatment levels by day 4. VSV-hIFNβ was also injected into normal livers or an intrahepatic McA-RH7777 HCC xenograft established in Buffalo rats. Buffalo rats were more sensitive to neurotoxic effects of VSV; the no observable adverse event level (NOAEL) of VSV-hIFNβ in Buffalo rats was 107 TCID50. Higher doses were associated with fatal neurotoxicity and infectious virus was recovered from tumor and brain. Compared with VSV-hIFNβ, toxicity of VSV-rIFNβ (recombinant VSV expressing rat IFN-β) was greatly diminished in Buffalo rats (NOAEL, >1010 TCID50). Two groups of two adult male rhesus macaques received 109 or 1010 TCID50 of VSV-hIFNβ injected directly into the left hepatic lobe under computed tomographic guidance. No neurological signs were observed at any time point. No abnormalities (hematology, clinical chemistry, body weights, behavior) were seen and all macaques developed neutralizing anti-VSV antibodies. Plasma interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and hIFN-β remained below detection levels by ELISA. On the basis of these studies, we will be proposing a cautious approach to dose escalation in a phase I clinical trial among patients with HCC.
Edmonston vaccine strains of measles virus (MV) have shown significant antitumor activity in preclinical models of ovarian cancer. We engineered MV to express the marker peptide carcinoembryonic antigen (MVCEA virus) to also permit real-time monitoring of viral gene expression in tumors in the clinical setting. Patients with Taxol and platinum-refractory recurrent ovarian cancer and normal CEA levels were eligible for this phase I trial. Twenty-one patients were treated with MV-CEA i.p. every 4 weeks for up to 6 cycles at seven different dose levels (103–109 TCID50). We observed no dose-limiting toxicity, treatment-induced immunosuppression, development of anti-CEA antibodies, increase in anti-MV antibody titers, or virus shedding in urine or saliva. Dose-dependent CEA elevation in peritoneal fluid and serum was observed. Immunohistochemical analysis of patient tumor specimens revealed overexpression of measles receptor CD46 in 13 of 15 patients. Best objective response was dose-dependent stable disease in 14 of 21 patients with a median duration of 92.5 days (range, 54–277 days). Five patients had significant decreases in CA-125 levels. Median survival of patients on study was 12.15 months (DELnths; range, 1.3–38.4 months), comparing favorably to an expected median survival of 6 months (DELnth) in this patient population. Our findings indicate that i.p. administration of MV-CEA is well tolerated and results in dose-dependent biological activity in a cohort of heavily pretreated recurrent ovarian cancer patients.
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has shown promise as an oncolytic agent, although unmodified VSV can be neurotoxic. To avoid toxicity, a vector was created by introducing the interferon-β (IFN-β) gene (VSV.IFN-β). We conducted this study to determine the ability of VSV.IFN-β to lyse human cancer (mesothelioma) cells and to evaluate the potential of this recombinant virus for clinical translation. Four normal human mesothelial and 12 mesothelioma cell lines were tested for their susceptibility to VSV vectors in vitro. VSV.hIFN-β did not cause cytotoxicity in any normal lines. Only 4 of 12 lines were effectively lysed by VSV.hIFN-β. In the eight resistant lines, pretreatment with IFN-β prevented lysis of cells by VSV.GFP, and VSV infection or addition of IFN-β protein resulted in the upregulation of double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR), myxovirus resistance A (MxA), and 2′,5′-oligo-adenylate-synthetase (2′5′-OAS) mRNA. In the susceptible lines, there was no protection by pretreatment with IFN-β protein and no IFN- or VSV-induced changes in PKR, MxA, and 2′5′-OAS mRNA. This complete lack of IFN responsiveness could be explained by marked downregulation of interferon alpha receptors (IFNARs), p48, and PKR in both the mesothelioma cell lines and primary tumor biopsies screened. Presence of p48 in three tumor samples predicted responsiveness to IFN. Our data indicate that many mesothelioma tumors have partially intact IFN pathways that may affect the efficacy of oncolytic virotherapy. However, it may be feasible to prescreen individual susceptibility to VSV.IFN-β by immunostaining for the presence of p48 protein.
Prostate cancer cells overexpress the measles virus (MV) receptor CD46. Herein, we evaluated the antitumor activity of an oncolytic derivative of the MV Edmonston (MV-Edm) vaccine strain engineered to express the human sodium iodide symporter (NIS; MV-NIS virus). MV-NIS showed significant cytopathic effect (CPE) against prostate cancer cell lines in vitro. Infected cells effectively concentrated radioiodide isotopes as measured in vitro by Iodide-125 (125I) uptake assays. Virus localization and spread in vivo could be effectively followed by imaging of 123I uptake. In vivo administration of MV-NIS either locally or systemically (total dose of 9 × 106 TCID50) resulted in significant tumor regression (P < 0.05) and prolongation of survival (P < 0.01). Administration of 131I further enhanced the antitumor effect of MV-NIS virotherapy (P < 0.05). In conclusion, MV-NIS is an oncolytic vector with significant antitumor activity against prostate cancer, which can be further enhanced by 131I administration. The NIS transgene allows viral localization and monitoring by noninvasive imaging which can facilitate dose optimization in a clinical setting.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of malignant effusions in cancer patients. Pleural effusion indicates incurable disease with limited palliative treatment options and poor outcome. Here, we demonstrate the therapeutic efficacy of measles virus (MV) vaccine strain derivative against malignant pleural effusion in an MDA-MB-231 xenograft model of advanced breast cancer. Both systemic intravenous (i.v.) and intrapleural (t.t.) administered virus caused massive infection and syncytia formation in the pleural tumor deposits. Intrapleural administration of 1.5 × 106 plaque-forming units (PFU) total dose of MV significantly improved median survival by approximately 80% compared to the control animal group. Furthermore, we tested human dendritic cells as carriers for delivery of oncolytic MV infection to breast cancer pleural metastases. Carrier-delivered MV infection prevented accumulation of the pleural exudate and also significantly improved the survival of the treated mice. This is the first demonstration of the therapeutic potential of oncolytic virotherapy against malignant pleural effusions in a pre-clinical model of advanced breast cancer.
Measles virus; Pleural effusion; Breast cancer; Oncolytic virotherapy
The entry process of the avian sarcoma and leukosis virus (ASLV) family of retroviruses requires first a specific interaction between the viral surface (SU) glycoproteins and a receptor on the cell surface at a neutral pH, triggering conformational changes in the viral SU and transmembrane (TM) glycoproteins, followed by exposure to low pH to complete fusion. The ASLV TM glycoprotein has been proposed to adopt a structure similar to that of the Ebola virus GP2 protein: each contains an internal fusion peptide flanked by cysteine residues predicted to be in a disulfide bond. In a previous study, we concluded that the cysteines flanking the internal fusion peptide in ASLV TM are critical for efficient function of the ASLV viral glycoproteins in mediating entry. In this study, replication-competent ASLV mutant subgroup A [ASLV(A)] variants with these cysteine residues mutated were constructed and genetically selected for improved replication capacity in chicken fibroblasts. Viruses with single cysteine-to-serine mutations reverted to the wild-type sequence. However, viruses with both C9S and C45S (C9,45S) mutations retained both mutations and acquired a second-site mutation that significantly improved the infectivity of the genetically selected virus population. A charged-amino-acid second-site substitution in the TM internal fusion peptide at position 30 is preferred to rescue the C9,45S mutant ASLV(A). ASLV(A) envelope glycoproteins that contain the C9,45S and G30R mutations bind the Tva receptor at wild-type levels and have improved abilities to trigger conformational changes and to form stable TM oligomers compared to those of the C9,45S mutant glycoprotein.