A rational relationship: Oncolytic virus vaccines as functional partners for adoptive T cell therapy
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Tumours employ a variety of immune-evasion and suppression mechanisms to impair development of functional tumor-specific T cells and subvert T cell-mediated immunity in the tumour microenvironment. Adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) aims to overcome these barriers and overwhelm tumor defenses with a bolus of T cells that were selectively expanded ex vivo. Although this strategy has been effective in liquid tumors and melanomas, many tumors appear to be resistant to ACT. Several factors are thought to play into this resistance, including poor engraftment and persistence of transferred cells, tumour cell heterogeneity and antigen loss, poor immune cell recruitment and infiltration into the tumour, and susceptibility to local immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. Oncolytic viruses (OV) have been identified as powerful stimulators of the anti-tumour immune response. As such, OVs are inherently well-positioned to act in synergy with ACT to bolster the anti-tumour T cell response. Further, OV vaccines, wherein tumour-associated antigens are encoded into the viral backbone, have proven to be remarkable in boosting antigen-specific T cell response. Pre-clinical studies have revealed remarkable therapeutic outcomes when OV vaccines are paired with ACT. In this scenario, OV vaccines are thought to function in a "push and pull" manner, where push refers to expanding T cells in the periphery and pull refers to recruiting those cells into the tumour that has been rendered amenable to T cell attack by the actions of the OV. In this review, we discuss barriers that limit eradication of tumors by T cells, highlight attributes of OVs that break down these barriers and present strategies for rational combinations of ACT with OV vaccines.
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