The purpose of this project is to determine whether poxviruses can be used to eliminate cancer cells. Poxviruses have several characteristics that make them ideal cancer therapeutics. Currently this lab has tested several tumor cell lines and many support growth of a poxvirus called myxoma virus.
Myxoma virus does not cause disease in any animal except the rabbit; however, it was recently shown that myxoma virus grows in some cancer cell lines. Since myxoma virus only grows in abnormal cells, virus replication in healthy tissue should not occur. Vaccinia virus is another virus that may be useful as a cancer treatment. The effects of virus infection on a large number of feline cancer cell lines will be studied extensively. The investigators hope to show that poxviruses are safe and effective treatments for several types of feline cancer.