Engineered herpes simplex virus expressing IL-12 in the treatment of experimental murine brain tumors

Academic Article


  • Genetically engineered, neuroattenuated herpes simplex viruses (HSVs) expressing various cytokines can improve survival when used in the treatment of experimental brain tumors. These attenuated viruses have both copies of (γ1)34.5 deleted. Recently, we demonstrated increased survival of C57BL/6 mice bearing syngeneic GL-261 gliomas when treated with an engineered HSV expressing IL-4, as compared with treatment with the parent construct ((γ1)34.5-) alone or with a virus expressing IL-10. Herein, we report construction of a conditionally replication-competent mutant expressing both subunits of mIL-12 (M002) and its evaluation in a syngeneic neuroblastoma murine model. IL-12 induces a helper T cell subset type 1 response, which may induce more durable antitumor effects. In vitro studies showed that, when infected with M002, both Vero cells and murine Neuro-2a neuroblastoma cells produced physiologically relevant levels of IL-12 heterodimers, as determined by ELISA. M002 was cytotoxic for Neuro-2a cells and human glioma cell lines U251MG and D54MG. Neurotoxicity studies, as defined by plaque-forming units/LD50, performed in HSV1-sensitive A/J strain mice found that M002 was not toxic even at high doses. When evaluated in an intracranial syngeneic neuroblastoma murine model, median survival of M002-treated animals was significantly longer than the median survival of animals treated with R3659, the parent (γ1)34.5- mutant lacking any cytokine gene insert. Immunohistochemical analysis of M002-treated tumors identified a pronounced influx of CD4+ T cells and macrophages as well as CD8+ cells when compared with an analysis of R3659-treated tumors. We conclude that M002 produced a survival benefit via oncolytic effects combined with immunologic effects meditated by helper T cells of subset type 1.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Parker JN; Gillespie GY; Love CE; Randall S; Whitley RJ; Markert JM
  • Start Page

  • 2208
  • End Page

  • 2213
  • Volume

  • 97
  • Issue

  • 5