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Oncolytic viruses offer many advantages for cancer therapy when administered directly to confined solid tumors. However, the systemic delivery of these viruses is problematic because of the host immune response, undesired interactions with blood components, and inherent targeting to the liver. Efficacy of systemically administered viruses has been improved by masking viral surface proteins with polymeric materials resulting in modulation of viral pharmacokinetic profile and accumulation in tumors in vivo. Here we describe a new class of polyvalent reactive polymer based on poly( N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide) (polyHPMA) with diazonium reactive groups and their application in the modification of the chimeric group B oncolytic virus enadenotucirev (EnAd). A series of six copolymers with different chain lengths and density of reactive groups was synthesized and used to coat EnAd. Polymer coating was found to be extremely efficient with concentrations as low as 1 mg/mL resulting in complete (>99%) ablation of neutralizing antibody binding. Coating efficiency was found to be dependent on both chain length and reactive group density. Coated viruses were found to have reduced transfection activity both in vitro and in vivo, with greater protection against neutralizing antibodies resulting in lower transgene production. However, in the presence of neutralizing antibodies, some in vivo transgene expression was maintained for coated virus compared to the uncoated control. The decrease in transgene expression was found not to be solely due to lower cellular uptake but due to reduced unpackaging of the virus within the cells and reduced replication, indicating that the polymer coating does not cause permanent inactivation of the virus. These data suggest that virus activity may be modulated by the appropriate design of coating polymers while retaining protection against neutralizing antibodies.

Original publication




Journal article


Bioconjug Chem

Publication Date





1244 - 1257


Adenoviridae, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Cell Line, Tumor, Diazonium Compounds, Genetic Vectors, Humans, Oncolytic Virotherapy, Polymers, Transfection