Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Bruce Bejcek

Second Advisor

Dr. Robert Eversole

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, yet most standard treatments available are harsh on the patient and are unable to distinguish between cancerous cells and normal cells. Attention is now turning towards the use of animal viruses (called oncolytic viruses) to specifically target and eradicate tumor cells as a relatively new form of cancer therapy, referred to as virotherapy. There are over a dozen oncolytic viruses in different stages of clinical trials. Since cancer is not just one disease, and since viruses induce specific anti-viral immunity, there is a need for a large and varied pool of oncolytic viruses to be able to successfully treat cancer in a single individual. This study evaluates the oncolytic potential of wild-type tanapoxvirus (TPV), and its plaque variants in cell cultures of human origin. Results from these experiments show that there is a 30 fold increase in viral titer and cell monolayer destruction in one glioblastoma cell line (U-373) at 7 days post infection when compared to the control. There is also an increase in viral titer recovered from two renal cancer cell lines (ACHN and Caki-1), and one colorectal cell line (HCT-116). Attempts were made to induce human glioblastoma tumors in nude mice and these in vivo studies resulted in no significant scientific conclusions. However, these attempts provided valuable information for the future potential use of TPV as an oncolytic virus in nude mouse model.

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