The Reoviridae are a family of viruses with a non-enveloped icosahedral capsid and a segmented double-stranded RNA genome. Prototypes of the mammalian Orthoreoviruses have been isolated from human respiratory and enteric tracts and are not associated with human disease. One of these, human reovirus type 3 Dearing (T3D), usually serves as a model for the family. In the last decade the mammalian Orthoreoviruses, especially T3D, have been evaluated as oncolytic agents in experimental cancer therapy. This is based on the observation that reoviruses induce cell death and apoptosis in tumor cells, but not in healthy non-transformed cells. Several clinical trials have been initiated in Canada, the USA, and the UK, to study the feasibility and safety of this approach. Due to the segmented structure of their double-stranded RNA genomes genetic modification of Reoviridae has been notoriously difficult. Several techniques have been described recently that facilitate the genetic modification of reovirus genomes. The basis for reverse genetics of reovirus is the discovery in 1990 that reovirus RNA is infectious. Subsequently, it took ten years before a foreign gene was introduced into the reovirus genome. Here we review the methods for reovirus modification and their use for generating new reovirus-derived oncolytic agents.

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Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Wollenberg, D.J.M, van den Hengel, S.K, Dautzenberg, I.J.C, Kranenburg, O, & Hoeben, R.C. (2009). Modification of mammalian reoviruses for use as oncolytic agents. Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy (Vol. 9, pp. 1509–1520). doi:10.1517/14712590903307370