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Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus

Oncolytic herpes simplex virus (oHSV) is one of the oncolytic viruses being studied in cancer therapeutic research and several oHSVs have been investigated in clinical trials. With years of experience in immunology and oncology, Creative Biolabs has established a comprehensive platform called OncoVirapy™ for providing oncolytic virus development service. By virtue of OncoVirapy™, we are able to design, engineer and generate the most efficacious oncolytic herpes viral vector and viral particles.

Brief Introduction of Oncolytic HSV

HSV is a double-stranded DNA virus belonging to the Herpesviridae family. There're two existing variants of HSV, including HSV type 1 (HSV-1) and HSV type 2 (HSV-2). Among these two subtypes, HSV-1 has been widely investigated in cancer oncolytic viral therapy. HSV-1 contains a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome of about 152 kb, which is arranged by two unique sequences: Unique Long (UL) and Unique Short (US), an icosadeltahedral capsid, an amorphous tegument, and an outer lipid bilayer envelope with glycoprotein spikes for viral entry. Some characteristics including large foreign genes capacity (estimated to be about 30 kb), neural sensitivity tropism and high titers of manufacture enable HSV-1 to be used as a viral-delivery candidate for cancer treatment. Although it is best known as a neurotropic virus due to its latency in neurons, HSV-1 actually can infect a wide variety of cell types and thus tumor types. Talimogene laherparepvec (T-Vec) was an oncolytic HSV that was first approved for the melanoma treatment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2015, and then successively approved in Europe, Australia, Switzerland, and Israel.

HSV-1 Gene Mutations in Oncolytic Virotherapy

ap of HSV-1 genome and schematic representation of essential genes and non-essential genes. Fig.1 Map of HSV-1 genome and schematic representation of essential genes and non-essential genes. (Artusi, 2018)

Cases of oHSV Genetic Modifications

Oncolytic virotherapy with mutants derived from HSV-1 exhibits significant antitumor effects in preclinical models. Several mutants have now been tested in clinical trials for a variety of cancer types, such as colorectal cancer, melanoma and osteosarcoma. Excitingly, some mutants have been found to be safe and effective. Table.1 listed several common genetic alterations of oHSVs.

Common genetic modifications of oncolytic HSV. Table.1 Common genetic modifications of oncolytic HSV.

Featured Services and Construction Workflow

We provide a comprehensive range of HSV services based on our advanced OncoVirapy™ platform.

With years of experience and continuous optimization, Creative Biolabs has developed a systematic workflow for oncolytic HSV construction as follows. In addition to the standard construction workflow, we also developed bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) cloning technology, which significantly advances the capacity of herpesvirus researchers to manipulate virus genomes.

Workflow of oncolytic HSV construction at Creative Biolabs. Fig.2 Workflow of oncolytic HSV construction at Creative Biolabs.

Oncolytic HSV has been widely used in pre-clinical and clinical cases; moreover, there’s hope that its curative effect will be further enhanced through the combination of oHSV with both traditional and emerging therapeutics. With the development of modern genetic engineering techniques, more and more strategies have been discovered to optimize the construction of oncolytic HSV, to reduce toxicity, as well as increase the specificity and efficacy. Creative Biolabs offers a broad range of custom oncolytic HSV cloning and construction services at a reasonable cost and with quick turnaround time. Besides, we also provide in vitro and in vivo validation services for engineered oncolytic HSV to facilitate your whole project. 


  1. Artusi, S.; et al. Herpes simplex virus vectors for gene transfer to the central nervous system. Diseases. 2018, 6(3): 74.

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