Our research develops anti-cancer viruses that are able to infect and kill cancer cells, while leaving normal cells unharmed. This approach exploits the natural life cycle of the virus, which lyses infected cells in order to release progeny virus particles, allowing the infection to spread from cell to cell through the tumour. The life cycle of some viruses, such as adenoviruses, is intimately dependent on the activities of the cells they infect, and this provides a range of opportunities to engineer viruses that are only active when they encounter the specific environment of a tumour cell.
Adenoviruses can be designed that are dependent on deregulated cell cycle, dysfunctional apoptosis pathways, enhanced glycolytic metabolism and many others. In this way the virus amplifies itself within the tumour, reaching high local concentrations and potentially infecting all tumour cells. In addition this 'oncolytic' type of cell killing is very inflammatory, providing the possibility to create an anti-cancer immune response. These agents are often known as ‘oncolytic vaccines’.
Finally our viruses can be 'armed' to encode additional therapeutic agents, to be expressed only within the tumour; this provides a simple and versatile approach to targeted cancer therapy using a range of potent biological agents.
13 October 2021
The nursing team at the Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit has been awarded the Excellence in Cancer Research Nursing Award 2021.
7 October 2021
A new industry-academic partnership between the University of Oxford and biopharmaceutical company NuCana has found that chemotherapy drug NUC-7738, derived from a Himalayan fungus, has 40 times greater potency for killing cancer cells than its parent compound.
Oxford to assess revolutionary multi-cancer blood test in trial, for future implementation in the NHS
15 September 2021
A partnership between the University of Oxford and GRAIL, LLC will evaluate the use of a new, non-invasive, multi-cancer early detection test known as Galleri in suspected cancer patients.