Oncolytic Virus Therapy - Current Field, Challenges and Future Directions

Monday 9th March, 12:30 – 15:00

Ulrich M. Lauer, MD, Professor, Vice Chairman, Internal Medicine VIII, Medicine, University Hospital Tübingen

Alan Melcher, MD, PhD, Professor, Team Leader, Translational Immunology, The Institute of Cancer Research

Course Description:

This course will focus on current status of pre-clinical, translational and clinical data for oncolytic viruses, examine several mechanisms being responsible for resistances observed in oncolytic viral treatments and approaches that help to choose the best virotherapeutic for each patient. Significant challenges in widely applying oncolytic virus in the clinic still remain and will be discussed in details.

What You Will Learn:

  • Resistancies to virotherapy
  • Interferon signaling pathways
  • Personalized virotherapy
  • Virograms approach
  • Combined/simultaneous application of virotherapeutics
  • Immunological basis of virotherapy (turning immunologically ‘cold’ tumours ‘hot’)
  • Current status of pre-clinical, translational and clinical data
  • Intratumoural versus systemic administration
  • Practical implementation in the clinic within early and late trials.

Detailed Agenda:

12:30 Ways to Future Personalized Viroimmunotherapy

Ulrich M. Lauer, MD, Professor, Vice Chairman, Internal Medicine VIII, Medicine, University Hospital Tübingen

Several mechanisms being responsible for resistances observed to each and every type of oncolytic viruses have been proposed recently. Amongst others, these include an upregulation of type I IFN signaling and the constitutive expression of a subset of interferon-simulated genes (ISGs). Based on this knowledge, several approaches such as so-called “virograms“, helping to choose the best virotherapeutic for each and every tumor patient, are under way. These important clinical developments will be discussed in detail.

1:40 Session Break

1:50 Implementation of Viroimmunotherapy in the Clinic

Alan Melcher, MD, PhD, Professor, Team Leader, Translational Immunology, The Institute of Cancer Research

Oncolytic viruses (OV) are increasingly recognised as novel agents to increase the efficacy of immune checkpoint-based immunotherapy for cancer. One agent (talimogene laherperpvec) is clinically approved, but significant challenges remain if OV are to be widely applied in the clinic. These include route of delivery, choice of tumour target, personalising therapy, and the rational, scientifically-driven development of optimal combinations.

Meet the Instructors:

Ulrich_M._LauerUlrich M. Lauer, MD, Professor, Vice Chairman, Internal Medicine VIII, Medicine, University Hospital Tübingen

Prof. Dr. U.M. Lauer is serving as an Associate Professor, Senior Physician, and Research Group Leader at the University Hospital Tübingen, Germany. Prof. Lauer has published over 100 peer reviewed articles, especially in the areas of virotherapy and gene therapy. Since 2006 Prof. Lauer is Head of the German Oncolysis Consortium (GOC). Prof. Lauer for the first time has applied recombinant oncolytic vaccinia virus-based virotherapeutics in a locoregional manner in patients exhibiting peritoneal carcinomatosis. Prof. Lauer´s current research is focused on Experimental & Translational Oncology, Patient-indivualized Virotherapy (Tumor Tissue Slice Technology & Organoids), Oncolytic Virus Technologies (Measles vaccine virus, Vaccinia Virus, Herpes simplex virus), Suicide gene Arming of Oncolytic Viruses, Innate immunity mediated Tumor Therapy and Epigenetic Tumor Therapy.

Melcher_AlanAlan Melcher, MD, PhD, Professor, Team Leader, Translational Immunology, The Institute of Cancer Research

Professor Melcher is a clinician scientist studying how to activate the immune system to recognise and attack cancer. In particular, he works on oncolytic, anti-cancer viruses, which work mainly as a type of immunotherapy, and is a specialist in melanoma. Professor Alan Melcher graduated in medicine from the University of Oxford in 1989, and trained in Clinical Oncology (Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy) in Cardiff, London and Leeds. Following completion of his PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) in London, he was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, Minnesota, before returning to the UK, where he became Professor of Clinical Oncology and Biotherapy in Leeds in 2007. In April 2016, he moved to The Institute of Cancer Research, London, as Professor of Translational Immunology and Honorary Consultant Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust. He combines a clinical practice in head and neck cancer and melanoma with laboratory and translational research focused on oncolytic viruses and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer.

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