Immunotherapies using oncolytic viruses - viruses that preferentially infect and kill cancer cells - offer a novel specific possibility of treating malignant tumors. Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) as an oncolytic RNA-virus possesses particular benefits including a short replication cycle, the generation of an abundant number of virus progeny, a strong cytolytic activity - cells bursting due to an osmotic imbalance -, and the introduction of robust anti-cancer immune responses. However, it was shown that the wild type CVB3 (Nancy strain) can cause severe inflammations and infections in humans and therefore an application as a safe oncolytic virus is questionable.
The invention presented here uses a modified variant of the CVB3 wild type, isolated after serial passaging in human fetal primary fibroblast cells. The new CVB3 – variant (PD-0) shows strong lytic effectiveness in tumor cells and inhibits the tumor growing in vivo without causing side effects. The altered amino acid sequence, positively influencing the absorption of the virus into tumor cells, seems most likely to be responsible for this. Thus, the invention offers a new, safe method of treatment for cancer. Furthermore, PD 0 represents a basis for the development of novel PD-0-virus variants with further enhanced properties. This opens up the possibility to adapt the used virus more specifically to the tumors to be treated, thus enhancing the efficiency of the treatment even more.
The university is interested in a cooperation in the framework of a license agreement or a research cooperation agreement. A future licensee would have the authorization to use the modified variant of the virus in return for a fee or a share of royalties. The client would also agree to a research cooperation agreement that aims at the joint development of an approved immunotherapeutic method for the treatment of cancer.