Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Biological cancer therapies, such as oncolytic, or replication-selective viruses have advantages over traditional therapeutics as they can employ multiple different mechanisms to target and destroy cancers (including direct cell lysis, immune activation and vascular collapse). This has led to their rapid recent clinical development. However this also makes their pre-clinical and clinical study complex, as many parameters may affect their therapeutic potential and so defining reason for treatment failure or approaches that might enhance their therapeutic activity can be complicated. The ability to non-invasively image viral gene expression in vivo both in pre-clinical models and during clinical testing will considerably enhance the speed of oncolytic virus development as well as increasing the level and type of useful data produced from these studies. Further, subsequent to future clinical approval, imaging of reporter gene expression might be used to evaluate the likelihood of response to oncolytic viral therapy prior to changes in tumor burden. Here different reporter genes used in conjunction with oncolytic viral therapy are described, along with the imaging modalities used to measure their expression, while their applications both in pre-clinical and clinical testing are discussed. Possible future applications for reporter gene expression from oncolytic viruses in the phenotyping of tumors and the personalizing of treatment regimens are also discussed.
Keywords: Oncolytic Vaccinia Virus, Theranostics