Multiscale model for the effects of adaptive immunity suppression on the viral therapy of cancer
Oncolytic virotherapy - the use of viruses that specifically kill tumor cells - is an innovative and highly promising route for treating cancer. However, its therapeutic outcomes are mainly impaired by the host immune response to the viral infection. In the present work, we propose a multiscale mathematical model to study how the immune response interferes with the viral oncolytic activity. The model assumes that cytotoxic T cells can induce apoptosis in infected cancer cells and that free viruses can be inactivated by neutralizing antibodies or cleared at a constant rate by the innate immune response. Our simulations suggest that reprogramming the immune microenvironment in tumors could substantially enhance the oncolytic virotherapy in immune-competent hosts. Viable routes to such reprogramming are either in situ virus-mediated impairing of CD$8^+$ T cells motility or blockade of B and T lymphocytes recruitment. Our theoretical results can shed light on the design of viral vectors or new protocols with neat potential impacts on the clinical practice.