Alphaviral-Based Strategies for the Immunotherapy of Cancer

  • Edward L. Nelson
  • Jonathan Smith
Part of the Cancer Drug Discovery and Development book series (CDD&D)


Alphavirus-based vectors have been developed over the past 13 yr (1–3). Alphaviruses, formerly known as group A arboviruses, are small, enveloped, positivestrand RNA viruses that constitute one of two genera within the Togaviridae family (4,5). The alphaviruses infect a wide range of hosts being able to replicate in both arthropod and vertebrate hosts (avian and mammalian). The structure, biology, and replication strategy of these viruses have been well characterized over the past three decades (5,6). This characterization has resulted in the recognition of advantages and disadvantages for vectors derived from alphaviruses along with the identification of critical elements of the alphavirus genome that must be retained in the vector for various functional capabilities. The bulk of investigations using these vector systems have been focused on prophylactic vaccination against infectious-disease processes. Fewer studies have evaluated alphavirus vectors for their antitumor immunotherapy potential and all are preclinical. In contrast, DNA viruses, such as adenovirus or the pox viruses, have progressed to human cancer clinical trials, despite alphavirus vectors having distinct potential advantages. This is owing in part to studies with DNA viruses being initiated well before those of the alphaviruses along with the technical and regulatory demands of good manufacturing practices (GMP) production for RNA viruses. Three of the alphaviruses have been adapted to immunotherapeutic vectors and evaluated in various tumor models; see Table 1. The exact mechanisms by which these alphavirus-derived vectors elicit robust antitumor immune responses are unclear.


Human Papilloma Virus Semliki Forest Virus Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen Sindbis Virus Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward L. Nelson
  • Jonathan Smith

There are no affiliations available

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