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Division of Tumor Virology

Prof. Dr. Jean Rommelaere

Treatment of an intracerebral rat glioma with  parvovirus H-1 (H-1PV). MRI of a rat brain bearing a glioma, at the time of infection with H-1PV (left), and 8 days later (right), showing disappearance of the tumor after infection.
Vergrößerte Ansicht Treatment of an intracerebral rat glioma with parvovirus H-1 (H-1PV). MRI of a rat brain bearing a glioma, at the time of infection with H-1PV (left), and 8 days later (right), showing disappearance of the tumor after infection.

The Division "Tumor Virology" should actually be called "Anti-Tumor Virology" since its objective is to develop oncolytic viruses (preferentially killing tumor cells) and viral vectors (transferring of therapeutic genes into diseased, including cancer cells). Our activities have led to the launching of a clinical trial using the oncolytic parvovirus H-1PV to treat malignant gliomas. Four main research axes are presently developed.

1. Basic investigation of the interactions of oncolytic parvoviruses (PV) with host cells, with focus on (i) cellular markers predictive of tumor responsiveness to PV treatment; (ii) PV determinants of host range, (iii) molecular pathways involved in PV oncotoxic and immuno-modulating properties; and (iv) PV-mediated delivery of cyto- and chemokines into tumors and their microenvironment.
2. Production of proofs of concept for future clinical trials using oncolytic parvoviruses, including (i) preclinical evaluation of the applicability of H-1PV therapy to malignancies other than gliomas, in particular pancreatic carcinomas and embryonic tumors of the nervous system; (ii) development of novel anticancer strategies based on the combination of H-1PV with other agents; (iii) design of new generation parvovirus (vectors) endowed with enhanced anticancer efficacy.
3. Support of current clinical trial through accompanying research on virus fate and effects in treated patients.
4. Standardization and improvement of virus production/purification, and quality/quantity control for parvovirus applications to humans.

Selected Publications

Rommelaere, J., Geletneky, K., Angelova, A.L., Daeffler, L., Dinsart, C., Kiprijanova, I., Schlehofer, J.R. and Raykov, Z. (2010). Oncolytic parvoviruses as cancer therapeutics. Cytokine and Growth Factor Reviews, 21, 185-195

Nüesch, J.P.F., Lacroix, J., Marchini, A. and Rommelaere, J. (2012). Molecular pathways: rodent parvoviruses: mechanisms of oncolysis and prospects for clinical cancer treatment. Clinical Cancer Research, 18, 3516-3523.

Grekova, S., Rommelaere, J. and Raykov, Z. (2012). Parvoviruses: tools to fine-tune anticancer immune responses. OncoImmunology, 1, 1417-1419.

Nüesch, J.P.F. and Rommelaere, J. (2014). Tumor suppressing properties of rodent parvovirus NS1 proteins and their derivatives. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, 818, 99-124.

last update: 19/09/2014 back to top