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Virus-directed enzyme prodrug therapy utilizing the bacterial enzyme nitroreductase delivered by a replication-defective adenovirus vector to activate the prodrug CB1954 is a promising strategy currently undergoing clinical trials in patients with a range of cancers. Similarly, selectively replicating oncolytic adenoviruses are entering clinical trials. An understanding of interactions between vector and target cell are critical to the development of these strategies. We demonstrate that adenovirus vectors activate cellular pathways that promote cell survival in an NF-kappaB-dependent manner, and consequently have a negative effect on the efficacy of cell killing induced by cancer gene therapy strategies. This provides a potential therapeutic target to enhance the cytotoxicity of these approaches.

Original publication




Journal article


Gene Ther

Publication Date





1187 - 1197


Adenoviridae, Aziridines, Cell Line, Tumor, Enzyme Activation, Genetic Therapy, Genetic Vectors, Humans, NF-kappa B, Neoplasms, Nitroreductases, Oncolytic Virotherapy, Oncolytic Viruses, Prodrugs, Signal Transduction, Virus Replication