University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Viral Vectors and Gene Therapy (VVGT)

DNA StrandThis area builds on the University of Pittsburgh's long-standing expertise in gene therapy and viral vectors. Research in this area has evolved to emphasize vector-based vaccine development, oncolytic virus therapy as well as gene delivery. Members of this Program extensively collaborate and interact with faculty in other CVP groups such as the AIDS-related malignancy group, as well as other UPCI Programs such as the Cancer Immunology Program (CIP). VVGT members (Drs. Glorioso and Robbins) have been responsible for organizing recent Gordon Conferences on Viral Vectors for Gene Therapy.

Selected Publications

  • Viral genes involved with generating the protein coat for herpes simplex virus were identified (Toporova et. al., J Virol 85:7513022, 2011).
  • Viral vector-based gene expression libraries from normal or diseased tissues offer opportunities to interrogate cellular functions that influence or participate directly in specific biological processes. A herpes simplex virus (HSV)-based expression library was created and characterized (Wolfe et. al., J Virol. 84(14):7360-7268, 2010).
  • Tumor-trafficking immune cells can efficiently deliver oncolytic viral therapies to their tumor targets. These cells act as both a therapeutic agent and also a carrier vehicle for the oncolytic virus, and such delivery is also possible in the face of pre-existing antiviral immunity (Thorne et. al., Mol Ther. 18(9):1698-705,2010).
  • Vector delivery and distribution in vivo can be improved by compromising the extra cellular matrix, potentially enhancing oncolytic efficacy. (Hong et. al., Gene Ther. 17(10):1200-5, 2010).


Section Leader: Stephen Thorne

Gambotto, Andrea, MD
Homa, Fred, PhD
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Glorioso, Joseph, PhD
Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Thorne, Stephen, PhD