Biological therapies such as immunotherapy and oncolytic virotherapy are physiological and well tolerated by cancer patients. The combination of cancer vaccines with oncolytic viruses is a powerful concept. Two types of autologous cancer vaccines will be described which are modified by infection with the avian Newcastle disease virus. They instruct the immune system about relevant cancer targets (tumor antigens, TAs) and contain signals for innate immunity activation. Viral molecular patterns such as S’-PPP RNA and hemagglutininneuraminidase (HN) protein initiate early inflammatory defense reactions which contribute to activation of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and to costimulation of T cells. The concommitant stimulation of TA-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells occurs in T-APC clusters. These generate cancer-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and T cell mediated long-term immunological memory. Results from pre-clinical and clinical studies will be presented.

Volker Schirrmacher is Scientific Director of Tumorimmunology at aAZK, Cologne, Germany. He finished his studies of biochemistry with a PhD in immunology. After 5 years post-doc time in Stockholm, Sweden and London, UK, he became Full Professor and Head of Division of Cellular lmmunology at the German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany. This position was hold for 32 years until official retirement in 2008. His scientific oevre covers more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and several books. He was awarded the Aronson Price, the Meyenburg Price and the German Cancer Award.