Genetically engineered vesicular stomatitis virus in gene therapy: Application for treatment of malignant disease

M. Fernandez, M. Porosnicu, D. Markovic, G. N. Barber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


We report here the generation of recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) able to produce the suicide gene product thymidine kinase (TK) or cytokine interleukin 4 (IL-4). In vitro cells infected with the engineered viruses expressed remarkably high levels of biologically active TK or IL-4 and showed no defects in replication compared to the wild-type virus. Recombinant viruses retained their ability to induce potent apoptosis in a variety of cancer cells, while normal cells were evidently more resistant to infection and were completely protected by interferon. Significantly, following direct intratumoral inoculation, VSV expressing either TK or IL-4 exhibited considerably more oncolytic activity against syngeneic breast or melanoma tumors in murine models than did the wild-type virus or control recombinant viruses expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP). Complete regression of a number of tumors was achieved, and increased granulocyte-infiltrating activity with concomitant, antitumor cytotoxic T-cell responses was observed. Aside from discovering greater oncolytic activity following direct intratumoral inoculation, however, we also established that VSV expressing IL-4 or TK, but not GFP, was able to exert enhanced antitumor activity against metastatic disease. Following intravenous administration of the recombinant viruses, immunocompetent BALB/c mice inoculated with mammary adenocarcinoma exhibited prolonged survival against lethal lung metastasis. Our data demonstrate the validity of developing novel types of engineered VSV for recombinant protein production and as a gene therapy vector for the treatment of malignant and other disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)895-904
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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