Immunotherapy such as immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) has made great strides in cancer treatment. However, many patients do not respond to ICB or some develop secondary resistance to it. Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that intratumoral delivery of immunogenic viruses can overcome resistance to ICB. In this talk, I will discuss the evolving concepts of oncolytic virotherapy, the rationale of combination of viral-based therapeutics with ICB, and our work to engineer recombinant vaccinia viruses to modulate tumor microenvironment to overcome primary and secondary resistance to ICB. I will also talk about our basic science research on virus-host interaction and our strategies to engineer recombinant modified vaccinia virus (a non-replicative vaccine strain of vaccinia virus) as a vaccine vector for cancers and emerging infectious diseases.
(Refreshments will be served at 2:45 pm)