An oncolytic virus is a virus that selectively replicates and kills cancer cells. The infected cancer cell is destroyed by oncolysis as part of the virus life-cycle, resulting in the release of new virus particles which further infect and destroy surrounding cancer cells. This process triggers the host immune system, which further stimulates the anti-tumour immune response. In addition, these viruses can be further engineered to locally deliver immunomodifying proteins. Altogether, oncolytic viruses have potential as anti-cancer agents, specifically cancer immunotherapies.
Author: James Clubb (ESR4)