Oncolytic Viruses in Head and Neck Cancer: A New Ray of Hope in the Management Protocol

Author(s): Shilpa PS, Kaul R, Bhat S, Sultana N, Pandeshwar P

This paper intends to highlight the different types of oncolytic viruses (OVs), mechanism of tumor specificity, its safety, and various obstacles in the design of treatment and combination therapy utilizing oncotherapy. Search was conducted using the internet‑based search engines and scholarly bibliographic databases with key words such as OVs, head and neck cancer, viruses, oral squamous cell carcinoma, and gene therapy. Revolutionary technologies in the field of cancer treatment have gone through a series changes leading to the development of innovative therapeutic strategies. Oncolytic virotherapy is one such therapeutic approach that has awaited phase III clinical trial validation. OVs are self‑replicating, tumor selective and lyse cancer cells following viral infection. By modifying the viral genome, it is possible to direct their toxicity toward cancer cells. Viruses that are used for treatment of head and neck cancer are either naturally occurring or genetically modified. OVs are tumor selective and potential anticancer agents. Virotherapy may become the standard of care and part of combination therapy in the management of head and neck cancer in the future.


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