Oncolytic viruses infect and replicate in cancer cells to induce cell death. As such, they are promising new therapies against cancer. This study describes for the first time the antitumor activity of SG33, a veterinary vaccine strain derived from the Myxoma virus. SG33 is genetically engineered to encode the ANCHOR system, a molecular beacon for non-invasive, real-time imaging of viral DNA. In this work, we demonstrate that the ANCHOR system allows for single-cell characterization of the very early stages of infection and for SG33 virus replication in cancer cells. In greater details, we demonstrate the therapeutic efficacy of SG33 in experimental models derived from pancreatic cancer (primary patient cells, 3D tumoroids, experimental tumors), while normal pancreatic cells are spared by this virus. In vivo studies show that the virus colonizes experimental tumors and impairs tumor growth. Collectively, these data are an essential prerequisite for the use of oncolytic virus such as SG33 for the management of patients with pancreatic cancer.

This work describes a novel non-invasive imaging approach for the analysis of the replication and of the therapeutic activity of a novel oncolytic virus in preclinical models of pancreatic cancer. In the long term, this project may lead to the development of new theranostic strategies (detection + treatment) for patients suffering from this cancer. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanisms that control the replication and the activity of SG33 in pancreatic cancer cells, as well as the cell death pathways induced following viral infection.

Discover the published article :

Hum Gene Ther. 2021 Jan 27.doi: 10.1089/hum.2020.294. Online ahead of print.
A novel imaging approach for single-cell, real-time analysis of oncolytic virus replication and efficacy in cancer cells
Lorraine Quillien, Sokunthea Top, Sandrine Kappler, Agathe Redouté, Nelson Dusetti, Charlotte Quentin-Froignant, Hubert Lulka, Christelle Camus, Louis Buscail, Franck Gallardo, Stéphane Bertagnoli, Pierre Cordelier

Key words :

  • Pancreatic cancer,
  • oncolytic virus,
  • live imaging,
  • single cell,
  • gene therapy

Collaborations and thanks

  • Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Toulouse
  • NeoVirTech SAS
  • Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Marseille

Contact :

Pierre Cordelier
Team “ImPACT : Therapeutic innovations in pancreatic cancer”
Mail : pierre.cordelier@inserm.fr

One picture

Real-time detection of viral replication and oncolysis (green) following infection of primary cancer cells with SG33 virus.