Novel Pro-Apoptotic Oncolytic Viral Strategy for Cancer Treatment

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have genetically altered an oncolytic virus to greatly enhance its ability to target cancer cells and induce apoptosis.  Using this modified virus, this group has shown improved lysis of different types of cancerous cells from various mammalian cell lines and animal models.


Current treatment of cancer (including surgical removal, chemotherapy, and radiation) are often incompletely effective with many having adverse side effects. New therapeutics and adjunct treatments are needed to cure cancer. As such, there is an ongoing interest in using viruses to eliminate cancer. Today, there are three replicating oncolytic viruses (OV) approved for treatment of specific cancers in humans: Rigvir (in Latvia) and T-VEC (in the US), both for melanoma, and H101 (in China) for head and neck tumors.


Oncolytic virus treatments offer a novel targeted approach to defeating cancer. With genetic modifications, these viruses can be enhanced to improve directed apoptosis of cancerous cells, greatly reduce time of treatment, and even cure many types of cancer.


  • Pro-apoptotic OV is not specific to one tumor type, and thus can be applied to many different cancers
  • Modified virus specifically targets cancer cells without harming healthy cells
  • Genetic modification to the virus has shown improved lysis of cancerous cells
  • Efficacy has been shown in animal models


  • Treatment of cancer in any animal species, including humans
Last Updated: April 2022

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Amy MacNeill
Sandra Quackenbush
Laura Ashton

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