Why Pox Viruses?

Targeted oncolytic poxviruses, or vaccinia viruses, hold significant commercial and medical potential and represent a breakthrough technology for cancer. The main reasons are their enhanced tolerability and efficacy. These products are highly selective for cancer and therefore have minimal side effects, which are limited to flu-like symptoms. The poxvirus strain backbone of JX-594 has been used safely in millions of people as part of a worldwide vaccination program. In addition, the biology of pox viruses makes them ideal nanotech therapeutics to attack cancer. Features include 1) rapid and motile spread in tumors (increased potency), 2) intravenous stability and delivery to solid tumors, 3) therapeutic transgene-arming capacity, and 4) antidotes are available (to maximize safety).

In addition, the oncolytic poxviruses are equipped with multiple mechanisms of action for targeting, attacking and eradicating cancer cells. Oncolytic poxviruses can not only vaccinate the patient against their cancer and induce an anti-tumor immune response, but in addition, can cause acute tumor lysis and debulking through viral replication and cell destruction plus additional mechanisms of action including disruption of the vasculature to the tumor. Upon entry into tumor cells, vaccinia replicates rapidly and efficiently. Infectious virions are released as early as six hours after tumor cell infiltration, and tumor cell destruction occurs in approximately 24 hours, with up to 10,000 particles released upon cell lysis. Spread within tumors and to distant metastases is possible because poxviruses produce particles that are optimized for either rapid cell-to-cell spread within the tumor, or for long-range travel to remote tumors.

In summary, Jennerex has capitalized on the natural attributes of poxviruses and the historical body of work on vaccinia viruses to create safe therapeutic viruses that can broadly infect tumors and lead to their eradication via rapid replication and rapid spread combined with the induction of longer-term anti-cancer immunity.

Jennerex virus (green) replicating
and killing cancer cells within
the tumor mass.
Click to see animation.