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Safety mechanism assisted by the repressor of tetracycline (SMART) oncolytic Vaccinia vaccines

Cell-based and mouse studies suggest tetracycline-inducible expression of interferon-g (IFNG; IFN-g) could improve the safety of Vaccinia virus (VACV)-based oncolytic viral therapy. SMART vectors were generated to produce low basal expression and doxycycline-inducible high expression of IFN-g. In immunodeficient mice infected with the SMART-IFN-g virus, compared with mice infected with a vector lacking IFN-g, doxycycline decreased infection-associated weight loss and increased survival. Next steps include testing these viruses in mouse xenograft models of cancer and developing next-generation, smallpox-based therapeutic vaccines using the strategy.

SciBX 6(38); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1078
Published online Oct. 3, 2013

Patent filed by University of Connecticut; available for licensing

Grigg, P. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Aug. 29, 2013;
Contact: Paulo H. Verardi, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Conn.

Contact: Tilahun D. Yilma, University of California, Davis, Calif.