Oncolytic Newcastle Disease Virus as Cutting Edge between Tumor and Host
Oncolytic viruses (OVs) replicate selectively in tumor cells and exert anti-tumor cytotoxic activity. Among them, Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV), a bird RNA virus of the paramyxovirus family, appears outstanding. Its anti-tumor effect is based on: (i) oncolytic activity and (ii) immunostimulation. Together these activities facilitate the induction of post-oncolytic adaptive immunity. We will present milestones during the last 60 years of clinical evaluation of this virus. Two main strategies of clinical application were followed using the virus (i) as a virotherapeutic agent, which is applied systemically or (ii) as an immunostimulatory agent combined with tumor cells for vaccination of cancer patients. More recently, a third strategy evolved. It combines the strategies (i) and (ii) and includes also dendritic cells (DCs). The first step involves systemic application of NDV to condition the patient. The second step involves intradermal application of a special DC vaccine pulsed with viral oncolysate. This strategy, called NDV/DC, combines anti-cancer activity (oncolytic virotherapy) and immune-stimulatory properties (oncolytic immunotherapy) with the high potential of DCs (DC therapy) to prime naive T cells. The aim of such treatment is to first prepare the cancer-bearing host for immunocompetence and then to instruct the patient’s immune system with information about tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) of its own tumor together with danger signals derived from virus infection. This multimodal concept should optimize the generation of strong polyclonal T cell reactivity targeted against the patient’s TAAs and lead to the establishment of a long-lasting memory T cell repertoire.