The FDA has approved the first oncolytic virus therapy for treating melanoma in the skin and lymph nodes that can’t be surgically removed (http://1.usa.gov/1H8xe3A).
Talimogene laherparepvec, marketed as Imlygic, is a genetically modified herpes simplex virus type 1 designed to replicate within tumors and produce an immunostimulatory protein—granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF).
When injected directly into melanoma lesions, talimogene laherparepvec causes tumors to rupture and die. The process releases tumor-derived antigens that, together with GM-CSF, may promote an antitumor immune response. However, investigators are still working to determine the drug’s exact mechanism of action.
Voelker R. New Approaches for Melanoma. JAMA. 2015;314(21):2227. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.15988