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[29] Visualizing Oncolytic Virus-Host Interactions in Live Mice Using Intravital Microscopy

Molecular Therapy Oncolytics, 2018, 10, 14-27.

Oncolytic virus (OV) therapy is an emerging cancer treatment that uses replicating viruses to infect and kill tumor cells and incite anticancer immunity. While the approach shows promise, it currently fails most patients, indicating strategies to improve OV activity are needed. Developing these will require greater understanding of OV biology, particularly in the context of OV delivery and clearance, the infection process within a complex tumor microenvironment, and the modulation of anticancer immunity. To help achieve this, we have established a technique for high-resolution 4D imaging of OV-host interactions within intact tissues of live mice using intravital microscopy (IVM). We show that oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) directly labeled with Alexa Fluor dyes is easily visualized by single- or multiphoton microscopy while retaining bioactivity in vivo. The addition of fluorophore-tagged antibodies and genetically encoded reporter proteins to image target cells and the virus infection enables real-time imaging of dynamic interactions between VSV and host cells in blood, tumor, and visceral organs of live mice. The method has sufficient in vivo resolution to observe leukocytes in blood binding to and transporting VSV particles, foci of VSV infection spreading through a tumor, and antigen-presenting cells in the spleen interacting with and being infected by VSV. Visualizing OV-host interactions by IVM represents a powerful new tool for studying OV therapy.

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