Ex-vivo therapy has benefited one of the most complex fields such as oncology. Some successful therapies that require the use of the virus are:
– CAR-T: as a treatment for a type of leukemia in which B lymphocytes (tumor cells) present an antigen on their membrane that cannot be recognized by T lymphocytes (immune system cells responsible for destroying tumor cells). In this case, T lymphocytes are removed from the patient, genetically modified to express a new receptor that recognizes the tumor antigen and reintroduced to the patient so that they can bind to the malignant B lymphocytes and destroy them.
– Oncoviruses: this therapy, despite dealing with viral vectors, has a totally different objective. In this case the viruses are designed to attack the tumor cells, infecting them and collaborating (together with treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy) in their destruction. Oncoviruses are modified to increase their binding affinity to target tumor cells as well as to carry immunostimulatory proteins. Thus, upon infection and consequently cell lysis, molecules that enhance the immune response are secreted into the environment.