Development of oncolytic viral-mediated immunotherapies for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma and pancreatic cancer.
The main focus of our laboratory centers on the use of replication-competent viral vectors for the treatment of cancer including vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Newcastle disease virus (NDV). The majority of efforts are directed at designing and testing oncolytic viral therapies in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. The malignancies tested to date include liver, colon and pancreatic cancers. The specific strategies under investigation include targeting oncolytic virus towards alterations in the type I interferon and miRNA regulated pathways in cancer cells. The laboratory aims not only to find viral vectors that may be useful in direct killing of cancers, but also in transfer of genes that may further enhance cancer killing by immunomodulatory, cytotoxic or antiangiogenic mechanisms of action. The molecular basis for selection of tumors for viral treatment as well as mechanisms of potential resistance to viral therapy is also under investigation. Collaborative efforts are underway to examine novel imaging modalities for finding and tracking viral distribution as well as monitoring tumor responses to viral therapy. A clinical translational trial using oncolytic viruses to treat patients with primary and metastatic cancers in the liver is currently under development.
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