Neuropathol Appl Neurobiol. 2010 Dec;36(7):648-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2990.2010.01110.x.
Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common and most malignant adult brain tumour. Despite numerous advances in cancer therapy there has been little change in the prognosis of glioblastoma multiforme, which remains invariably fatal. We examined the Semliki Forest virus virus-like particle (SFV VLP) expression system encoding interleukin-12 (IL-12) as a therapeutic intervention against the syngeneic RG2 rat glioma model.
Glioma-bearing rats were treated with IL-12-encoding SFV VLPs via an implanted cannula. Animals were treated with 5 × 10⁷ (low-dose) or 5 × 10⁸ (high-dose) VLPs per treatment and the effect on glioma growth and survival was assessed.
Low-dose treatment produced a 70% reduction in tumour volume, associated with a significant extension (20.45%) in survival that was dependent upon IL-12 expression. High-dose treatment resulted in an 87% reduction in tumour volume, related to the oncolytic capacity of the SFV VLP system. VLP delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) demonstrated the potential of the vector system to induce lethal pathology that was unrelated to replication-competent virus or high-level IL-12 expression. Treatment-related death was pronounced in high dose-treated animals and appeared to be the result of inflammation, necrosis and oedema at the inoculation site.
The efficacy of an IL-12 gene therapy approach for the treatment of the RG2 glioma model has been demonstrated in addition to the oncolytic capacity of the VLP vector system. Despite this, the broad tropism of the SFV-based expression vector may limit use as a CNS gene therapy vector unless this inherent limitation can be overcome.