Targeting Tumor Vasculature With an Oncolytic Virus
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Oncolytic viruses (OVs) have been engineered or selected for cancer cell-specific infection however, we have found that following intravenous administration of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), tumor cell killing rapidly extends far beyond the initial sites of infection. We show here for the first time that VSV directly infects and destroys tumor vasculature in vivo but leaves normal vasculature intact. Three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of infected tumors revealed that the majority of the tumor mass lacks significant blood flow in contrast to uninfected tumors, which exhibit relatively uniform perfusion. VSV replication in tumor neovasculature and spread within the tumor mass, initiates an inflammatory reaction including a neutrophil-dependent initiation of microclots within tumor blood vessels. Within 6 hours of intravenous administration of VSV and continuing for at least 24 hours, we observed the initiation of blood clots within the tumor vasculature whereas normal vasculature remained clot free. Blocking blood clot formation with thrombin inhibitors prevented tumor vascular collapse. Our results demonstrate that the therapeutic activity of an OV can go far beyond simple infection and lysis of malignant cells.
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