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    Design and selection of Toca 511 for clinical use: modified retroviral replicating vector with improved stability and gene expression.
    Mol Ther 2012 Sep 1;20(9):1689-98. Epub 2012 May 1.
    Tocagen Inc, San Diego, California 92109, USA.
    Retroviral replicating vectors (RRVs) are a nonlytic alternative to oncolytic replicating viruses as anticancer agents, being selective both for dividing cells and for cells that have defects in innate immunity and interferon responsiveness. Tumor cells fit both these descriptions. Previous publications have described a prototype based on an amphotropic murine leukemia virus (MLV), encoding yeast cytosine deaminase (CD) that converts the prodrug 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) to the potent anticancer drug, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in an infected tumor. We report here the selection of one lead clinical candidate based on a general design goal to optimize the genetic stability of the virus and the CD activity produced by the delivered transgene. Vectors were tested for titer, genetic stability, CD protein and enzyme activity, ability to confer susceptibility to 5-FC, and preliminary in vivo antitumor activity and stability. One vector, Toca 511, (aka T5.0002) encoding an optimized CD, shows a threefold increased specific activity in infected cells over infection with the prototype RRV and shows markedly higher genetic stability. Animal testing demonstrated that Toca 511 replicates stably in human tumor xenografts and, after 5-FC administration, causes complete regression of such xenografts. Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec) has been taken forward to preclinical and clinical trials.

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    1 Tocagen , San Diego, CA 92109.
    Toca 511 (vocimagene amiretrorepvec), a nonlytic, amphotropic retroviral replicating vector (RRV), encodes and delivers a functionally optimized yeast cytosine deaminase (CD) gene to tumors. In orthotopic glioma models treated with Toca 511 and 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) the CD enzyme within infected cells converts 5-FC to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), resulting in tumor killing. Toca 511, delivered locally either by intratumoral injection or by injection into the resection bed, in combination with subsequent oral extended-release 5-FC (Toca FC), is under clinical investigation in patients with recurrent high-grade glioma (HGG). Read More
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    Cancer Gene Ther 2014 Oct 10;21(10):405-410. Epub 2014 Oct 10.
    Department of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California, USA.
    A tumor-selective non-lytic retroviral replicating vector (RRV), Toca 511, and an extended-release formulation of 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC), Toca FC, are currently being evaluated in clinical trials in patients with recurrent high-grade glioma (NCT01156584, NCT01470794 and NCT01985256). Tumor-selective propagation of this RRV enables highly efficient transduction of glioma cells with cytosine deaminase (CD), which serves as a prodrug activator for conversion of the anti-fungal prodrug 5-FC to the anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) directly within the infected cells. We investigated whether, in addition to its direct cytotoxic effects, 5-FU generated intracellularly by RRV-mediated CD/5-FC prodrug activator gene therapy could also act as a radiosensitizing agent. Read More
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    Neuro Oncol 2012 Feb 9;14(2):145-59. Epub 2011 Nov 9.
    Tocagen, 3030 Bunker Hill St., San Diego, CA 92109, USA.
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