Poxviruses as Gene Therapy Vectors: Generating Poxviral Vectors Expressing Therapeutic Transgenes

  • Steven J. Conrad
  • Jia LiuEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1937)


Treatments with poxvirus vectors can have long-lasting immunological impact in the host, and thus they have been extensively studied to treat diseases and for vaccine development. More importantly, the oncolytic properties of poxviruses have led to their development as cancer therapeutics. Two poxviruses, vaccinia virus (VACV) and myxoma virus (MYXV), have been extensively studied as virotherapeutics with promising results. Vaccinia virus vectors have advanced to the clinic and have been tested as oncolytic therapeutics for several cancer types with successes in phase I/II clinical trials. In addition to oncolytic applications, MYXV has been explored for additional applications including immunotherapeutics, purging of cancer progenitor cells, and treatments for graft-versus-host diseases. These novel therapeutic applications have encouraged its advancement into clinical trials. To meet the demands of different treatment needs, VACV and MYXV can be genetically engineered to express therapeutic transgenes. The engineering process used in poxvirus vectors can be very different from that of other DNA virus vectors (e.g., the herpesviruses). This chapter is intended to serve as a guide to those wishing to engineer poxvirus vectors for therapeutic transgene expression and to produce viral preparations for preclinical studies.

Key words

Poxvirus Poxvirus genetic engineering Vaccinia virus (VACV) Myxoma virus (MYXV) Infection/transfection Transgene expression Poxvirus transfer vector 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)Little RockUSA
  2. 2.The Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Host Inflammatory ResponsesUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA

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