Oncolytic virotherapy for human solid tumors

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Replication-selective tumor-specific viruses present a novel approach for treatment of neoplastic disease. Telomerase activation is considered to be a critical step in carcinogenesis, and its activity correlates closely with human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression. We constructed an attenuated adenovirus 5 vector (Telomelysin, OBP-301), in which the hTERT promoter element drives expression of E1 genes. Telomelysin replicated efficiently and induced marked cell killing in a panel of human cancer cell lines, whereas replication as well as cytotoxicity was highly attenuated in normal human cells lacking telomerase activity. We further modified the E3 region of OBP-301 to contain green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene for monitoring viral replication (TelomeScan, OBP-401). When TelomeScan was intratumorally injected into human tumors orthotopically implanted into the rectum in mice, para-aortic lymph node metastasis could be visualized at laparotomy with a three-chip color cooled charged-coupled device camera. This article reviews recent highlights in this rapidly evolving field of cancer therapeutic and diagnostic approaches using telomerase-specific oncolytic adenoviruses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-709
Number of pages7
JournalJapanese Journal of Cancer and Chemotherapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • Adenovirus
  • Telomerase
  • Virotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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