Herpes simplex virus oncolytic vaccine therapy in melanoma

Shanthi Sivendran, Michael Pan, Howard L. Kaufman, Yvonne Saenger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Importance of the field: Advanced melanoma is a devastating disease with a five year survival for Stage IV disease of 10 20% and a median survival of 6 18 months depending on sub-stage. Current FDA approved therapies demonstrate limited response rates, few complete remissions and no proven survival benefit. New therapies are clearly needed. JSI/34.5-/47-/GM-CSF is a herpes simplex virus-1 (OncoVEXGM-CSF) oncolytic vaccine therapy designed to induce local and systemic anti-tumor immune responses. Areas covered in this review: Evolution of current herpes simplex virus oncolytic vaccines from preclinical to clinical studies from 1994 to 2010. What the reader will gain: Preclinical studies have shown that herpes simplex virus-1 oncolytic vaccines generate local tumor destruction through the lytic action of the virus and local and systemic immune responses. Phase I studies demonstrated limited toxicities with no neurotoxicty. Phase II studies demonstrated durable regressions in patients with metastatic melanoma. A Phase III trial in melanoma is ongoing to determine clinical effectiveness, and a Phase III trial in head and neck cancer will initiate during 2010. Take home message: JSI/34.5-/47-/GM-CSF is a new generation herpes simplex virus-1 oncolytic vaccine that demonstrates direct tumor lysis and systemic immune responses. Early clinical studies have yielded preliminary evidence of activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1153
Number of pages9
JournalExpert opinion on biological therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Herpes simplex virus 1
  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma
  • Oncolytic vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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