Safety and interim survival data after intracranial administration of M032, a genetically engineered oncolytic HSV-1 expressing IL-12, in pet dogs with sporadic gliomas

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE The diagnosis of glioma remains disheartening in the clinical realm. While a multitude of studies and trials have shown promise, improvements in overall survival have been disappointing. Modeling these tumors in the laboratory setting has become increasingly challenging, given their complex in situ behavior and interactions for therapeutic evasion. Dogs, particularly brachycephalic breeds, are known to spontaneously develop gliomas that resemble human gliomas both clinically and pathophysiologically, making canines with sporadic tumors promising candidates for study. Typically, survival among these dogs is approximately 2 months with palliation alone. METHODS The authors have completed the first stage of a unique phase I dose-escalating canine clinical trial in which the safety and tolerability of M032, a nonneurovirulent oncolytic herpes simplex virus–1 vector genetically engineered to express interleukin-12, are being studied in pet dogs with gliomas undergoing maximum safe tumor resection and inoculation of the cavity with the viral infusate. RESULTS Twenty-five canine patients were enrolled between January 2018 and August 2020. One patient was electively withdrawn from the trial by its owner, and 3 did not receive the virus. For the 21 dogs that remained, 13 had high-grade gliomas, 5 had low-grade gliomas, and 3 were undetermined. According to histopathological analysis, 62% of the tumors were oligodendrogliomas. At the time of this report, the median overall survival from the date of treatment was 151 days (± 78 days). No significant adverse events attributable to M032 or dose-limiting toxicities have been observed to date. CONCLUSIONS In this largest study of oncolytic viral therapy for canine brain tumors to date, treatment with M032 did not cause harm and the combination of surgery and oncolytic viral therapy may have contributed to prolonged survival in pet dogs with spontaneous gliomas. Forthcoming in-depth radiographic, immunohistochemical, and genetic analyses will afford a more advanced understanding of how this treatment impacts these tumors and the immune system. Our goal is to utilize these findings bitranslationally to inform human studies and refine therapies that will improve outcomes in both humans and pet dogs with gliomas.
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    Author List

  • Omar NB; Bentley RT; Crossman DK; Foote JB; Koehler JW; Markert JM; Platt SR; Rissi DR; Shores A; Sorjonen D
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