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Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a highly attenuated strain of vaccinia virus (VV) that is unable to replicate in most mammalian cells, was evaluated as an expression vector for a model tumor associated antigen (TAA) and as a potential anti-cancer vaccine. We employed an experimental murine model in which an adenocarcinoma tumor line, CT26.CL25, was stably transfected with a model TAA, beta-galactosidase (beta-gal). Mice injected intramuscularly with a recombinant MVA (rMVA) expressing beta-gal (MVA-LZ), were protected from a lethal intravenous (i.v.) challenge with CT26.CL25. In addition, splenocytes from mice primed with MVA-LZ were therapeutically effective upon adoptive transfer to mice bearing pulmonary metastases of the CT26.CL25 tumor established 3 days earlier. Most importantly, i.v. inoculation with MVA-LZ resulted in significantly prolonged survival of mice bearing three day old pulmonary metastases. This prolonged survival compared favorably to mice treated with a replication competent recombinant VV expressing beta-gal. These findings indicate that rMVA is an efficacious alternative to the more commonly used replication competent VV for the development of new recombinant anti-cancer vaccines.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





387 - 394


Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Spleen, Tumor Cells, Cultured, Animals, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Vaccinia virus, Adenocarcinoma, Colonic Neoplasms, Lung Neoplasms, Disease Models, Animal, beta-Galactosidase, Vaccines, Synthetic, Antigens, Tumor-Associated, Carbohydrate, Cancer Vaccines, Vaccines, Attenuated, Antigens, Neoplasm, Cytokines, Immunotherapy, Adoptive, Immunization, Secondary, Virus Replication, Genetic Vectors, Female