Enhanced Safety and Efficacy of Oncolytic VSV Therapy by Combination with T Cell Receptor Transgenic T Cells as Carriers

Michael Karl Melzer, Lisa Zeitlinger, Sabine Mall, Katja Steiger, Roland M. Schmid, Oliver Ebert, Angela Krackhardt, Jennifer Altomonte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) represents an attractive oncolytic virotherapy platform because of its potent tumor cell-killing and immune-stimulating properties; yet the clinical translation of VSV faces numerous challenges, such as inefficient systemic delivery and severe side effects such as neurotoxicity. We hypothesized that we could overcome these limitations and simultaneously enhance the therapy, by combining VSV with adoptively transferred T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic T cells as carrier cells. We show that CD8+ T central memory cells (CD8+ T cm) can be efficiently loaded with VSV, they support intracellular virus production, and they can efficiently transfer VSV to tumor cells without compromising their own viability or antitumor reactivity. Loading VSV onto CD8+ T cm not only improves the safety compared with systemic administration of naked virus, but this approach also allows for an effective delivery of virus to its tumor target, resulting in an effective combination therapy in NSG mice bearing subcutaneous human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) tumors. We conclude that the combination of potent tumor debulking provided by the oncolytic VSV with the added effector functions afforded by the cytotoxic immune carrier cells results in a potent and safer immunotherapeutic, which can be further developed for clinical translation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-40
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Therapy - Oncolytics
StatePublished - 29 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • acute myeloid leukemia
  • adoptive T cell therapy
  • immunotherapy
  • oncolytic virotherapy
  • vesicular stomatitis virus


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