The idea of using the lytic power of viruses against the malignant cells has been entertained for many decades. However, oncolytic viruses (OV) gained broad attention as an emerging anti-cancer therapy only recently with the successful implementation of the oncolytic herpesvirus to treat advanced melanoma. OVs offer an attractive therapeutic combination of tumor-specific cell lysis together with immune stimulation, yet the latter effect is less well studied. Nevertheless, OVs can be envisaged as potential in situ tumor vaccines. The therapeutic potential of OVs can be instigated further by using the molecular biological and biotechnological tools to modify the existing viruses for their optimal tumor selectivity and enhanced immune stimulation. Furthermore, OVs can be readily combined with other therapeutic agents to increase the efficacy of the existing therapeutic schemes. In this review, we discuss biotechnological advances in the development of therapeutic applications of OVs in Russia. Particular emphasis is made on the OV-mediated treatment of glioblastoma. In addition, we highlight the challenges of oncolytic virotherapy, and describe the strategies to optimize current approaches to improve clinical outcomes.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.