Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
ASSAY FOR SENSITIVITY TO CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/150496
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Diagnostic methods for assaying the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents in vitro for the treatment of cancer and methods for identifying chemotherapeutic agents are provided. The methods employ reporter viruses. Combinations and kits for use in the practicing the methods are also provided.

Inventors:
HILL, Phil (14 Haddon Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 6EQ, GB)
CHEN, Nanhai (9167 Buckwheat Street, San Diego, CA, 92129, US)
Application Number:
US2008/006917
Publication Date:
December 11, 2008
Filing Date:
May 30, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GENELUX CORPORATION (3030 Bunker Hill Street, Suite 310San Diego, CA, 92109, US)
HILL, Phil (14 Haddon Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham NG2 6EQ, GB)
CHEN, Nanhai (9167 Buckwheat Street, San Diego, CA, 92129, US)
International Classes:
G01N33/50
Domestic Patent References:
2003-09-12
Foreign References:
DE19860602A12000-07-06
Other References:
CASADO E ET AL: "Strategies to accomplish targeted expression of transgenes in ovarian cancer for molecular therapeutic applications" CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH, THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CANCER RESEARCH, US, vol. 7, no. 8, 1 August 2001 (2001-08-01), pages 2496-2504, XP002439382 ISSN: 1078-0432
ZACAL N J ET AL: "Enhanced expression from the human cytomegalovirus immediate-early promoter in a non-replicating adenovirus encoded reporter gene following cellular exposure to chemical DNA damaging agents" BIOCHEMICAL AND BIOPHYSICAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATIONS, ACADEMIC PRESS INC. ORLANDO, FL, US, vol. 332, no. 2, 1 July 2005 (2005-07-01), pages 441-449, XP004902497 ISSN: 0006-291X
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEIDMAN, Stephanie, L. (Bell Boyd & Lloyd LLP, 3580 Carmel Mountain RoadSuite 20, San Diego CA, 92130, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS:

1. A method for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of a cancer, comprising:

(a) infecting isolated cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells;

(b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent; and

(c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression or detecting reporter gene expression, wherein the level of expression or a change in the expression of the reporter gene in the presence of the chemotherapeutic agent indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

2. The method of claim 1 , wherein expression of the reporter gene is compared to a control, and a difference compared to the control indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein for the control, reporter gene expression in a cell infected with the reporter virus is assessed in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent.

4. The method of any of claims 1 -3 , wherein the level of expression of the reporter gene increases in the presence of the chemotherapeutic agent.

5. The method of any of claims 1 -4, wherein the level of expression of the reporter gene decreases in the presence of the chemotherapeutic agent.

6. The method of any of claims 1-5, wherein step (a) and step (b) are performed simultaneously or sequentially.

7. The method of any of claims 1 -6, wherein therapeutic efficacy of a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents is assessed simultaneously or sequentially.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein therapeutic efficacy of two or more different chemotherapeutic agents is assessed.

9. The method of any of claims 1-8, wherein the cells are cancer cells.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the cancer cells are selected from among colon cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, breast cancer, ovarian

cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer, hepatoma, melanoma, myeloma, glioma, mesothelioma, leukemia, retinoblastoma, sarcoma, and carcinoma cells.

11. The method of any of claims 1-10, further comprising treating the cells with a chemosensitizing agent prior to or during step (b).

12. The method of claim 11 , wherein the chemosensitizing agent is selected from among radiation, a topoisomerase inhibitor, a calcium channel blocker, a calmodulin inhibitor, an indole alkaloid, a quinoline, a lysosomotropic agent, a steroid, a triparanol analog, a detergent, a cyclic peptide antibiotic, a psychotherapeutic agent, a cyclic psychotropic agent and a 3-aryloxy-3- phenylpropylamine.

13. The method of any of claims 1-12, wherein the cells are primary cells.

14. The method of claim 13, wherein the primary cells are obtained from a subject.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the subject has a disease or disorder.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the disease is cancer.

17. The method of any of claims 1-16, wherein the cells are immortalized.

18. The method of any of claims 1-17, wherein the cells are grown for 1 or more, 5 or more, 10 or more, 24 or more, or 48 or more hours prior to contacting the cells chemotherapeutic agent or infecting the cells with the reporter virus.

19. The method of any of claims 1-18, wherein the virus is a DNA or an RNA virus.

20. The method of any of claims 1-19, wherein the virus is a cytoplasmic or a nuclear virus.

21. The method of any of claims 1 -20, wherein the virus is a vaccinia virus.

22. The method of claim 21 , wherein the vaccinia virus is a vaccinia LIVP strain.

23. The method of claim 22, wherein the vaccinia virus is GLV-lh68.

24. The method of any of claims 1 -23, wherein the reporter gene encodes a protein that is detectable.

25. The method of claim 24, wherein the protein is a luminescent or fluorescent protein.

26. The method of claim 23, wherein the protein is a luciferase, a green fluorescent protein or a red fluorescent protein.

27. The method of claim 24, wherein the protein is an enzyme.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the enzyme is selected from among i8-galactosidase, β-glucuronidase, ^-lactamase, alpha-amylase, alkaline phosphatase, secreted alkaline phosphatase, chloramphenicol acetyl transferase, peroxidase, T4 lysozyme, oxidoreductase and pyrophosphatase.

29. The method of claim 24, wherein the method further comprises detecting the protein by reacting it with an antibody specific therefor.

30. The method of any of claims 1 -29, wherein measuring a reporter gene expression comprises adding a substrate that is modified by the protein encoded by the reporter gene.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein the reporter gene is a luciferase and the substrate is a luciferin.

32. The method of any of claims 1-31, wherein measuring reporter gene expression comprises detection of electromagnetic radiation.

33. The method of claim 32, wherein the electromagnetic radiation is visible light

34. The method of claim 33, wherein the light is emitted by the reporter protein or by a molecule that interacts with the reporter protein

35. The method of any of claims 1 -34, wherein measuring reporter gene expression comprises detecting RNA expressed from the reporter gene.

36. The method of any of claims 1-35, wherein the reporter gene is operably linked to a promoter.

37. The method of claim 36, wherein the promoter is a viral promoter.

38. The method of claim 37, wherein the promoter is a vaccinia viral promoter.

39. The method of claim 37, wherein the viral promoter is selected from among an early promoter and a late promoter.

40. The method of claim 37, wherein the promoter is selected from among Py.sk, Pi ik, P EL , P SEL , P SE , H5R, TK, P28, Cl IR, G8R, F17R, I3L, I8R, AlL, A2L, A3L, HlL, H3L, H5L, H6R, H8R, DlR, D4R, D5R, D9R, DHL, D12L, D13L, MIL, N2L, P4b or Kl promoters, cowpox ATI promoter, T7 promoter, adenovirus late promoter, adenovirus ElA promoter, SV40 promoter, cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, thymidine kinase (tk) promoter, and Hydroxymethyl-Glutaryl Coenzyme A (HMG) promoter.

41. The method of any of claims 1 -40, wherein the virus encodes two or more detectable proteins.

42. The method of any of claims 1-41, wherein the virus is an attenuated virus relative to the native form of the virus.

43. The method of any of claims 1-42, wherein the chemotherapeutic agent is selected from among alkylating agents, nitrosureas, antitumor antibiotics, antimetabolites, antimitotics, topoisomerase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and signaling inhibitors.

44. The method of claim 43, wherein the chemotherapeutic agent is selected from among Ara-C, cisplatin, carboplatin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, daunorubicin, gemcitabine, camptothecin, irinotecan, cyclophosphamide, 6- mercaptopurine, vincristine, 5-fluorouracil, and methotrexate.

45. The method of claim 44, wherein the chemotherapeutic agent is Ara-C.

46. The method of any of claims 1 -45, wherein: step (a) of the method further comprises separately infecting two or more sets of cells with a reporter virus; and step (b) further comprises treating two or more sets of cells with a chemotherapeutic agent or a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents.

47. The method of any of claims 1-45, wherein: step (a) of the method further comprises separately infecting two or more sets of cells with a reporter virus; and step (b) comprises treating one or more sets of infected cells with a first chemotherapeutic agent and separately treating one or more additional sets of infected cells with a second chemotherapeutic agent, whereby the therapeutic

efficiency of first chemotherapeutic agent and the second chemotherapeutic agent are compared.

48. The method of any of claims 1 -47, wherein a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents are compared by treating one or more separate sets of cells each with a different chemotherapeutic agent.

49. The method of any of claims 46-48, wherein each chemotherapeutic agent comprises a single chemotherapeutic agent or a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents.

50. The method of any of claims 46-48, further comprising ranking the chemotherapeutic agents based on the change in reporter gene expression.

51. The method of any of claim 1-50 further comprising identifying one or more chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of the cancer by assessing the ability of the chemotherapeutic agent to decrease reporter gene expression of an infected cells below a threshold level relative reporter gene expression in the absence of treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent.

52. A method for screening compound for therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of cancer, comprising:

(a) infecting cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells;

(b) contacting the infected cells with a compound; and

(c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression or detecting reporter gene expression, wherein the level of expression or a change in the expression of the reporter gene in the presence of the compound indicates that the compound is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

53. The method of claim 51 , wherein: step (a) of the method further comprises separately infecting two or more sets of cells with a reporter virus; and step (b) further comprises treating one or more sets of cells with a compound or a plurality of compounds.

54. The method of claim 53, wherein: step (b) further comprises treating two or more sets of cells with a plurality of compounds, wherein each set of cells is treated with a different compound.

55. A method for comparing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of a cancer cell type, comprising:

(a) separately infecting two or more cancer cell types with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells;

(b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent;

(c) measuring the relative decrease in the level of reporter gene expression compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent for each cell type, wherein a decrease in expression of the reporter gene, compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent has therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer cell type.

56. A combination for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer comprising: a lyophilized reporter virus; and a reagent for detection of a reporter protein.

57. A combination for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer comprising: a lyophilized reporter virus; a chemosensitizing agent; and a reagent for detection of a reporter protein.

58. The combination of claim 56 or claim 57, wherein the detection reagent is selected from among luciferin, an antibody, reduction-oxidation indicator dye, jS-galactopyranoside and β-D-glucuronide.

59. The combination of claim 58, wherein the reporter virus is a vaccinia virus.

60. The combination of claim 59, wherein the vaccinia virus is a vaccinia LIVP strain.

61. The combination of claim 60, wherein the vaccinia virus is GLV-lh68.

62. The combination of any of claims 56-62 packaged as a kit.

63. Use of a cell that is infected with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells for assessing therapeutic efficacy or a chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of the cancer.

64. The use of claims 63, wherein the virus is a DNA or an RNA virus.

65. The use of claim 63 or claim 64, wherein the virus is a cytoplasmic or a nuclear virus.

66. The use of any of claims 63-65, wherein the virus is a vaccinia virus.

67. The use of claim 66, wherein the vaccinia virus is a vaccinia LIVP strain.

68. The use of claim 67, wherein the vaccinia virus is GLV-lh68.

69. The use of any of claims 63-68, wherein the reporter gene encodes a protein that is detectable.

70. The use of claim 69, wherein the protein is a luminescent or fluorescent protein.

71. The use of claim 70, wherein the protein is a luciferase, a green fluorescent protein or a red fluorescent protein.

72. The use of claim 69, wherein the protein is an enzyme.

73. The use of claim 72, wherein the enzyme is selected from among β- galactosidase, /3-glucuronidase, /3-lactamase, alpha-amylase, alkaline phosphatase, secreted alkaline phosphatase, chloramphenicol acetyl transferase, peroxidase, T4 lysozyme, oxidoreductase and pyrophosphatase.

74. The use of any of claims 63-73, wherein the reporter gene encodes a protein that modify a substrate that allows for detection of the substrate.

75. The use of claim 74, wherein the reporter gene is a luciferase and the substrate is a luciferin.

76. The use of any of claims 63-74, wherein the reporter gene encode a protein that is detectable by electromagnetic radiation.

77. The use of claim 76, wherein the electromagnetic radiation is visible light

78. The use of claim 77, wherein the light is emitted by the reporter protein or by a molecule that interacts with the reporter protein

79. The use of any of claims 63-78, wherein the reporter gene encodes an RNA that is detectable.

80. The use of any of claims 63-79, wherein the reporter gene is operably linked to a promoter.

81. The use of claim 80, wherein the promoter is a viral promoter.

82. The use of claim 81 , wherein the promoter is a vaccinia viral promoter.

83. The use of claim 81 , wherein the viral promoter is selected from among an early promoter and a late promoter.

84. The use of claim 81 , wherein the promoter is selected from among P 7 Sk, Piik, P EL , P SE L, P S E, H5R, TK, P28, CI lR, G8R, F17R, BL, I8R, AlL, A2L, A3L, HlL, H3L, H5L, H6R, H8R, DlR, D4R, D5R, D9R, DHL, D12L, D13L, MIL, N2L, P4b or Kl promoters, cowpox ATI promoter, T7 promoter, adenovirus late promoter, adenovirus ElA promoter, SV40 promoter, cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, thymidine kinase (tk) promoter, and Hydroxymethyl-Glutaryl Coenzyme A (HMG) promoter.

85. The use of any of claims 63-84, wherein the virus encodes two or more detectable proteins.

86. The use of any of claims 63-85, wherein the virus is an attenuated virus relative to the native form of the virus.

87. The use of any of claims 63-86, wherein the cells are cancer cells.

88. The use of claim 87, wherein the cancer cells are selected from among colon cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer, hepatoma, melanoma, myeloma, glioma, mesothelioma, leukemia, retinoblastoma, sarcoma, and carcinoma cells.

89. The use of any of claims 63-88, wherein the cells are cells pre-treated with a chemosensitizing agent.

90. The use of claim 89, wherein the chemosensitizing agent is selected from among radiation, a topoisomerase inhibitor, a calcium channel blocker, a calmodulin inhibitor, an indole alkaloid, a quinoline, a lysosomotropic agent, a

steroid, a triparanol analog, a detergent, a cyclic peptide antibiotic, a psychotherapeutic agent, a cyclic psychotropic agent and a 3-aryloxy-3- phenylpropylamine.

91. The use of any of claims 63-90, wherein the cells are primary cells or immortalized cell lines.

Description:

ASSAY FOR SENSITIVITY TO CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS

RELATED APPLICATIONS

Benefit of priority is claimed to U.S. provisional application Serial No. 60/932,665, to Phil Hill and Nanhai Chen, entitled "ASSAY FOR SENSITIVITY TO CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS," filed May 31, 2007. This application is related to U.S. application Serial No. (Attorney Dkt. No. 0119356-00128/4817), to Phil Hill and Nanhai Chen, entitled "ASSAY FOR SENSITIVITY TO

CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC AGENTS," filed May 30, 2008, which also claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/932,665. Where permitted, the subject matter of each of these applications is incorporated by reference in its entirety. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Diagnostic methods for assaying the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents in vitro for the treatment of cancer and methods for identifying chemotherapeutic agents are provided. Combinations and kits for use in the practicing the methods are provided. BACKGROUND

Each year over ten million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer and there are over six and half million deaths from the disease. Treatment with various chemotherapeutic agents, including chemotherapeutic compounds and radiation, are an important part of modern clinical cancer treatment. Often many of these therapies are ineffective due to differences in responsiveness of the cancer to the therapeutic agent administered. Cancers can be varied in many aspects, including the tissue of origin, the stage of the cancer, and differences among individual patient cells. Together, these factors contribute to the inability to prescribe effective treatments for the disease. A large proportion of these therapies also are toxic to the patient and are accompanied by mild to severe side effects in the patient. Continuing administration of an anticancer agent that is not effective to a patient can prolong the suffering in the patient unnecessarily. Thus, there exists a strong demand for methods of predicting the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents for different cancer types and on an individual patient basis prior to administering such agents for the treatment of cancer.

SUMMARY'

Provided herein are methods for assaying the sensitivity of cells to chemotherapeutic agents using reporter viruses. The methods provided herein assess the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer in vitro by measuring one or more activities of a reporter virus that infects an isolated host cell, such as cancer cell. Changes in such properties indicate the sensitivity of

the host cell to the chemotherapeutic agent and thus provide an assessment of the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer.

In an exemplary method provided herein, the steps of the method include: (a) infecting isolated cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent; and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression or detecting reporter gene expression, wherein the level of expression or a change in the expression of the reporter gene in the presence of the chemotherapeutic agent indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer. The chemotherapeutic agent can produce an increase, decrease, or no change in the expression of the reporter gene. The expression of the reporter gene can be compared to a control, and a difference compared to the control indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer. An exemplary control can be the level of reporter gene expression in a cell infected with the reporter virus in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent.

In the methods provided herein, the virus and the chemotherapeutic agent can be administered simultaneously or sequentially. For example, the virus and the chemotherapeutic agent or agents can be administered to the cells at the same time or at different times.

Provided herein are methods to assay the therapeutic efficacy of a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents. Two or more chemotherapeutic agents can be assessed simultaneously or sequentially. For example, the agents can be administered to the cells at the same time or at different times.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the sensitivity of cancer cells to a chemotherapeutic agent. The cancer cells can be primary cells that are removed from a subject or the cells can be a cell line that contains immortalized cells. Exemplary cancer cells include, but are not limited to, cells that are colon cancer, thyroid cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer, hepatoma, melanoma, myeloma, glioma, mesothelioma, leukemia, retinoblastoma, sarcoma, and carcinoma cells.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the chemosensitivity of a cell to a chemotherapeutic agent, where the cells are treated with a chemosensitizing agent prior to contacting the chemotherapeutic agent. Exemplary chemosensitizing agents include, but are not limited to, radiation, nucleotide analogs, a topoisomerase inhibitor, calcium channel blocker, a calmodulin inhibitor, an indole alkaloid, a quinolines, a lysosomotropic agent, a steroid, a triparanol analog, a detergent, a cyclic peptide antibiotic, a psychotherapeutic agent, a cyclic psychotropic agent, and a 3- aryloxy-3 -phenylpropylamine.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the chemosensitivity of a cell to a chemotherapeutic agent, where the cells are grown for 1 or more, 5 or more, 10 or more, 24 or more, or 48 or more hours prior to contacting the cells with a chemotherapeutic agent or infecting the cells with the reporter virus.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the chemosensitivity of a cell to a chemotherapeutic agent, where the primary cells are obtained from a subject that has a disease or disorder. Provided herein are methods of assaying the chemosensitivity of a cell to a chemotherapeutic agent, where the primary cells are obtained from a subject that has cancer.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the reporter virus used in the method is a DNA or an RNA virus. Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the virus used in the method is a cytoplasmic or a nuclear virus. Exemplary of a cytoplasmic DNA virus for use in the methods provided is a vaccinia virus. Exemplary of a vaccinia virus for use in the methods provided is a vaccinia LIVP strain. Exemplary of a vaccinia LIVP strain for use in the methods provided is GLV- Ih68. Provided herein are methods where the virus is an attenuated virus relative to the native form of the virus.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the reporter virus contains a reporter gene. Exemplary of a reporter gene for use in the methods provided is one that encodes a protein that is detectable. In some exemplary

methods, the virus encodes two or more detectable gene products. Exemplary detectable gene products can an detectable protein or RNA.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the reporter virus contains a reporter gene that encodes a luminescent or fluorescent protein. Exemplary of a luminescent protein for use in the methods provided is a luciferase. Exemplary of a fluorescent protein for use in the methods provided is a green fluorescent protein or a red fluorescent protein.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the reporter virus contains a reporter gene that encodes an enzyme. Exemplary enzymes for use in the methods provided include enzymes that modify a substrate to produce a detectable product or signal. Such enzymes include, but are not limited to, a luciferase, β-galactosidase, ^-glucuronidase, jS-lactamase, alpha-amylase, alkaline phosphatase, secreted alkaline phosphatase, chloramphenicol acetyl transferase, peroxidase, T4 lysozyme, oxidoreductase and pyrophosphatase. Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where measuring reporter gene expression includes a step of adding a substrate that is modified by the protein encoded by the reporter gene. In exemplary methods, the reporter gene is a luciferase and the substrate is a luciferin. In other exemplary methods, the enzyme is β-galactosidase and the substrate is X-gal. In other exemplary methods, the enzyme is β- glucuronidase and the substrate is X-gluc.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the reporter virus expresses a protein and the protein is detected by reacting it with an antibody that is specific for the protein.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where measuring reporter gene expression by the reporter virus is performed by detection of electromagnetic radiation. Exemplary of electromagnetic radiation is visible light. In

some exemplary methods, the light is emitted by the reporter protein or by a molecule that interacts with the reporter protein

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where measuring reporter gene expression by the reporter virus is performed by detecting RNA expressed from the reporter gene.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where the reporter gene expressed by the reporter virus is operably linked to a promoter. Exemplary promoters include viral promoters, such as a vaccinia viral promoter. The promoters can be an early promoter, an intermediate, or a late promoter. Exemplary viral promoters include, but are not limited to, P 7 5 K, Pi ik, P E L, PSEL, PSE, H5R, TK, P28, Cl IR, G8R, F17R, DL, I8R, AlL, A2L, A3L, HlL, H3L, H5L, H6R, H8R, DlR, D4R, D5R, D9R, DHL, D12L, D13L, MIL, N2L, P4b or Kl promoters, cowpox ATI promoter, T7 promoter, adenovirus late promoter, adenovirus ElA promoter, SV40 promoter, cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, thymidine kinase (tk) promoter, and Hydroxymethyl-Glutaryl Coenzyme A (HMG) promoter.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer, where the chemotherapeutic agent is selected from among alkylating agents, nitrosureas, antitumor antibiotics, antimetabolites, antimitotics, topoisomerase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and signaling inhibitors. Exemplary of such agents include, but are not limited to, Ara-C, cisplatin, carboplatin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, daunorubicin, gemcitabine, camptothecin, irinotecan, cyclophosphamide, 6-mercaptopurine, vincristine, 5- fluorouracil, and methotrexate. Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer, where the chemotherapeutic agent is Ara-C.

Provided herein are methods for screening compounds for therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of cancer. In an exemplary method provided herein, the steps of the method include: (a) infecting cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a compound; and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene

expression or detecting reporter gene expression, wherein the level of expression or a change in the expression of the reporter gene in the presence of the compound indicates that the compound is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where two or more sets of cells are separately infected with a reporter virus and the two or more sets of cells are treated with a chemotherapeutic agent or a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of two or more chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where two or more sets of cells are separately infected with a reporter virus and one or more sets of infected cells are treated with a first chemotherapeutic agent and one or more additional sets of infected cells are treated with a second chemotherapeutic agent, whereby the therapeutic efficacy of the first chemotherapeutic agent and the second chemotherapeutic agent are compared. In exemplary methods, a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents are compared by treating one or more separate sets of cells each with a different chemotherapeutic agent.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a combination of two or more chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where one or more sets of cells are infected with a reporter virus and the one or more sets of infected cells are treated with one or more chemotherapeutic agents. In such examples, the therapeutic efficacy of treatment wit a single agent versus multiple agents can be compared.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus, where each chemotherapeutic agent comprises a single chemotherapeutic agent or a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus that include a step of ranking the chemotherapeutic agents based on the change in reporter gene expression.

Provided herein are methods of assaying the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer using a reporter virus that include a step of identifying one or more chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of the cancer by assessing the ability of the chemotherapeutic agent to decrease reporter gene expression of an infected cells below a threshold level relative to reporter gene expression in the absence of treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent.

Provided herein are methods of assessing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer that includes the steps of (a) infecting cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells, (b) contacting the infected cells with a compound, and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression, wherein a decrease in expression of the reporter gene, compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the compound, indicates that the compound has therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer. In exemplary methods, two or more sets of cells are infected with a reporter virus and the one or more sets of cells are treated with a compound or a plurality of compounds. In other exemplary methods, two or more sets of cells are treated with a plurality of compounds, wherein each set of cells is treated with a different compound.

Provided herein are methods for comparing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of a cancer cell type that include the steps of: (a) separately infecting two or more cancer cell types with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells, (b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent, (c) measuring the relative decrease in the level of reporter gene expression compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent for each cell type, wherein a decrease in expression of the reporter gene, compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent has therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer cell type.

Provided herein are combinations and kits which include a lyophilized reporter virus for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of cancer. Such combinations and kits can include, for example, a reporter

virus, a chemosensitizing agent, container for performing the assay, a reagent for detection of a reporter protein, and/or instructions for performing the assay. Exemplary detection reagents that can be included in the combination or kit include, but are not limited to, luciferin, an antibody, reduction-oxidation indicator dye, β- galactopyranoside and /3-D-glucuronide.

Provided herein are uses of a cell that is infected with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells for assessing therapeutic efficacy or a chemotherapeutic agent for treatment of the cancer. The viruses and cells that can be employed for such uses include viruses or cells employed for any of the methods of assaying chemotherapeutic agents provided herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Outline

A. Method for assaying chemotherapeutic agents

1. Steps of method a. Harvesting tumor cells from patient b. Infection of cells with virus c. Assaying for chemotherapeutic efficacy via inhibition of viral gene expression and/or viral replication

2. Assay conditions

3. Applications of the method

4. Advantages of method over prior screening methods

B. Viruses for assay

1. Virus characteristics for virus selection a. Infection profile b. Time course of infection c. Effect on host cells d. Safety considerations e. Exhibit properties that can be assayed

2. Modified Viruses a. Expression of a reporter protein i. Exemplary reporter proteins

(a) Fluorescent proteins

(b) Bioluminescent proteins

(c) Enzymes

(d) Proteins detectable by antibodies

(e) Fusion proteins

(f) Proteins that interact with host cell proteins

ii. Operable linkage to promoter

(a) Promoter characteristics

(b) Exemplary promoters iii. Expression of multiple reporter proteins b. Other modifications

3. Exemplary viruses a. DNA viruses i. Cytoplasmic viruses

(a) Vaccinia viruses (i) LIVP (ii) Other vaccinia viruses ii. Nuclear viruses b. RNA viruses

4. Production and preparation of virus a. Methods of generating recombinant virus b. Host cells for propagation c. Concentration determination d. Storage methods i. Lyophilization e. Preparation of virus prior to assay

C. Target cells for assay

1. Tumor cells a. Exemplary cells b. Methods of obtaining cells

2. Methods for preparation of isolated target cells a. Storage methods

3. Preparation of target cells prior to assay

D. Agents to be assayed

1. Chemotherapeutic agents

2. Selection of assay for a particular chemotherapeutic agent

3. Combination treatments a. Two or more chemotherapeutic agents b. Chemotherapeutic agent with another molecule c. Chemotherapeutic agent with another anti-cancer therapy or chemosensitizing agent i. Radiation ii. Chemosensitizing agents

E. Assay detection methods

1. Detection of signals a. Devices

2. Administration of a substrate molecule

3. Immunodetection

F. Methods for validation of assay results

1. Internal control

2. Secondary assays a. Cytotoxicity assays b. Measurement of target cell gene expression

i. Cell death sensitive genes

3. Multiple replicates

4. Dose curve of chemotherapeutic drug(s)

5. Confirmation of positives

G. Methods for high-throughput screening of chemotherapeutic agents H. Modification of assay conditions

1. Preparation and concentration of target cells

2. Concentration of virus

3. Incubation time

4. Increasing assay sensitivity

I. Combinations, kits and articles of manufacture J. Examples

Definitions

Unless defined otherwise, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as is commonly understood by one of skill in the art to which the invention(s) belong. All patents, patent applications, published applications and publications, websites and other published materials referred to throughout the entire disclosure herein, unless noted otherwise, are incorporated by reference in their entirety. In the event that there are pluralities of definitions for terms herein, those in this section prevail. Where reference is made to a URL or other such identifier or address, it is understood that such identifiers can change and particular information on the internet can come and go, but equivalent information is known and can be readily accessed, such as by searching the internet and/or appropriate databases. Reference thereto evidences the availability and public dissemination of such information.

As used herein, chemotherapeutic efficacy refers to the ability of a chemotherapeutic agent to inhibit growth or proliferation of a cancer cell or to promote cell death of the cancer cell. The chemotherapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent can be measured indirectly using a reporter virus. For example, the chemotherapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent can be measured by the ability of the chemotherapeutic agent to affect an activity or property of a reporter virus within an infected the cell. Depending on the particular assay used, chemotherapeutic efficacy can refer to a relative effect of the chemotherapeutic agent in the assay or can refer to the ability of the chemotherapeutic agent to have an effect in the assay beyond a defined threshold level. For example, chemotherapeutic

efficacy can be expressed as a relative amount, such as, for example, a relative change in gene expression of the reporter virus in the presence of the chemotherapeutic agent compared to the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent. Chemotherapeutic efficacy can also be expressed as a defined amount, such as a threshold level. For example, a threshold level of gene expression for a reporter virus can define an amount beyond which a chemotherapeutic agent is said to have chemotherapeutic efficacy.

Chemotherapeutic efficacy is used herein interchangeably with chemotherapeutic sensitivity. A cancer cell is said to be sensitive to a chemotherapeutic agent if the chemotherapeutic agent can inhibit the growth or proliferation or promote the cell death of the cancer cell. A tumor cell can be considered sensitive to a chemotherapeutic agent, in the context of the methods provided herein, if any one or more detectable activities or properties of the infecting virus is altered by the chemotherapeutic agent, including activities or properties such as, but not limited to, viral genome replication; transcription of one or more virally- encoded genes; expression, function or property of one or more virally-encoded proteins; and the production of virions. The virally-encoded proteins can be endogenous viral proteins, or heterologous proteins, such as a reporter protein. Sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent is understood to include, unless otherwise indicated, sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent that is a single chemotherapeutic agent or a plurality of agents.

As used herein, a threshold level in a chemotherapeutic sensitivity assay when referring to the ability of a chemotherapeutic agent to affect an activity or property of a virus beyond a threshold level refers to a parameter that is defined by the user of the assay to assess the relative efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent. Threshold levels are empirically determined and are dependent on various factors, including, but not limited to, the particular activity or property measured and/or one or more parameters of the assay, such as, for example, the assay output signal (e.g., levels of light emitted from bioluminescent reaction or absorption from colorimetric enzyme assay).

As used herein, the term resistant when referring to resistance of a cell to a chemotherapeutic agent refers to the inability of the chemotherapeutic agent to inhibit growth or proliferation of a cell or to promote cell death. In the chemotherapeutic agent assay methods provided herein, the resistance of a cell to a chemotherapeutic

agent is measured by the inability of the chemotherapeutic agent to affect an activity or property of a reporter virus within an infected the cell. Resistance to a chemotherapeutic agent is understood to include, unless otherwise indicated, resistance to a chemotherapeutic agent that is single chemotherapeutic agent or a plurality of agents.

As used herein, "virus" refers to any of a large group of entities referred to as viruses. Viruses typically contain a protein coat surrounding an RNA or DNA core of genetic material, but no semipermeable membrane, and are capable of growth and multiplication only in living cells. Viruses for use in the methods provided herein include, but are not limited, to poxviruses, herpesviruses, adenoviruses, adeno- associated viruses, lentiviruses, retroviruses, rhabdoviruses, papillomaviruses, vesicular stomatitis virus, measles virus, Newcastle disease virus, picornavirus, sindbis virus, parvoviruses, reoviruses, coxsackievirus, influenza virus, mumps virus, poliovirus, and semliki forest virus.

As used herein, the term "viral vector" is used according to its art-recognized meaning. It refers to a nucleic acid vector construct that includes at least one element of viral origin and can be packaged into a viral vector particle. The viral vector particles can be used for the purpose of transferring DNA, RNA or other nucleic acids into cells either in vitro or in vivo. Viral vectors include, but are not limited to, retroviral vectors, vaccinia vectors, lentiviral vectors, herpes virus vectors (e.g., HSV), baculoviral vectors, cytomegalovirus (CMV) vectors, papillomavirus vectors, simian virus (SV40) vectors, semliki forest virus vectors, phage vectors, adenoviral vectors and adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors.

As used herein, a "reporter virus" refers to any virus that exhibits an activity or property that is dependent on one or more functions of the host cell and can be detected following infection of the host cell. Exemplary detectable activities or properties include, but are not limited to, genome replication, transcription, protein expression, protein properties or activities, and virus progeny production. Reporter viruses for use in the methods provided herein can contain, for example, a reporter gene that encodes a reporter protein or RNA. Such reporter genes can be endogenous or heterologous to the native virus.

As used herein, a "reporter gene" is a gene that encodes a reporter molecule that can be detected when expressed by the virus or encodes a molecule that modulates expression of a detectable molecule, such as nucleic acid molecule or a protein, or modulates an activity or event that is detectable. Hence reporter molecules include, nucleic acid molecules, such as expressed RNA molecules, and proteins.

As used herein, an "endogenous reporter gene" is a reporter gene that is natively present in a virus.

As used herein, a "heterologous reporter gene" is a reporter gene that is not natively present in a virus or is a gene that is present at a different locus than in its native locus in a virus. Heterologous reporter genes can contain nucleic acid that is not endogenous to the virus into which it is introduced, but has been obtained from another virus or cell or prepared synthetically. Heterologous reporter genes, however, can be endogenous, but contain nucleic acid that is expressed from a different locus or altered in its expression or sequence. Generally, such reporter genes encode RNA and proteins that are not normally produced by the virus or that are not produced under the same regulatory schema, such as the promoter.

As used herein, a "reporter protein" refers to any detectable protein or product expressed by a reporter gene. Reporter proteins can be expressed from endogenous or heterologous genes. Exemplary reporter proteins are provided herein and include, for example, receptors or other proteins that can specifically bind to a detectable compound, proteins that can emit a detectable signal such as a fluorescence signal, and enzymes that can catalyze a detectable reaction or catalyze formation of a detectable product.

As used herein, a "change in reporter gene expression" means that contact of the target cell with the chemotherapeutic agent causes an increase or decrease in the levels of expression from a reporter gene expressed by an infecting reporter virus.

As used herein, a "host cell" or "target cell" are used interchangeably to mean a cell that can be infected by a reporter virus. Target and host cells for use in the methods provided are cells for which the sensitivity to one or more chemotherapeutic agents is assayed.

As used herein, treatment of a cell, such as a host cell, target cell, cancer cell, or normal cell, with respect to the assay methods provided means administering an

agent, such as a chemotherapeutic agent, to the cell. Treatment of a cell with an agent can produce an effect on the cell, such as an increase or decrease in gene expression, or have no effect.

As used herein, the term "modified" with reference to a gene refers to a gene encoding a gene product, having one or more truncations, mutations, insertions or deletions; to a deleted gene; or to a gene encoding a gene product that is inserted (e.g., into the chromosome or on a plasmid, phagemid, cosmid, and phage), typically accompanied by at least a change in function of the modified gene product or virus.

As used herein, the term "modified virus" refers to a virus that is altered compared to a parental strain of the virus. Typically modified viruses have one or more truncations, mutations, insertions or deletions in the genome of virus. A modified virus can have one or more endogenous viral genes modified and/or one or more intergenic regions modified. Exemplary modified viruses can have one or more heterologous nucleic acid sequences inserted into the genome of the virus. Modified viruses can contain one or more heterologous nucleic acid sequences in the form of a gene expression cassette for the expression of a heterologous gene.

As used herein, an "attenuated virus" refers to a virus that has been modified to alter one or more properties of the virus that affect, for example, virulence, toxicity, or pathogenicity of the virus compared to a virus without such modification. Typically, the viruses for use in the methods provided herein are attenuated viruses with respect to the wild-type form of the virus.

As used herein, a disease or disorder refers to a pathological condition in an organism resulting from, for example, infection or genetic defect, and characterized by identifiable symptoms.

As used herein, treatment of a subject that has a condition, disorder or disease means any manner in which the symptoms of the condition, disorder or disease are ameliorated or otherwise beneficially altered.

As used herein, amelioration or alleviation of the symptoms of a particular disorder, such as by administration of a particular pharmaceutical composition, refers to any lessening, whether permanent or temporary, lasting or transient that can be attributed to or associated with administration of the composition.

As used herein, an effective amount of a virus or compound for treating a particular disease is an amount that is sufficient to ameliorate, or in some manner reduce the symptoms associated with the disease. Such an amount can be administered as a single dosage or can be administered in multiple dosages according to a regimen, whereby it is effective. The amount can cure the disease but, typically, is administered in order to ameliorate the symptoms of the disease. Repeated administration can be required to achieve the desired amelioration of symptoms.

As used herein, a subject includes any animal for whom diagnosis, screening, monitoring or treatment is contemplated. Animals include mammals such as primates and domesticated animals. An exemplary primate is human. A patient refers to a subject such as a mammal, primate, human, or livestock subject afflicted with a disease condition or for which a disease condition is to be determined or risk of a disease condition is to be determined.

As used herein, the term "neoplasm" or "neoplasia" refers to abnormal new cell growth, and thus means the same as tumor, which can be benign or malignant. Unlike hyperplasia, neoplastic proliferation persists even in the absence of the original stimulus.

As used herein, neoplastic disease refers to any disorder involving cancer, including tumor development, growth, metastasis and progression.

As used herein, cancer is a term for diseases caused by or characterized by any type of malignant tumor, including metastatic cancers, lymphatic tumors, and blood cancers. Exemplary cancers include, but are not limited to, leukemia, lymphoma, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, glioma tumors, adenocarcinomas, liver cancer and skin cancer. Exemplary cancers in humans include, but are not limited to, a bladder tumor, breast tumor, prostate tumor, basal cell carcinoma, biliary tract cancer, bladder cancer, bone cancer, brain and CNS cancer (e.g., glioma tumor), cervical cancer, choriocarcinoma, colon and rectum cancer, connective tissue cancer, cancer of the digestive system; endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer; eye cancer, cancer of the head and neck, gastric cancer, intra-epithelial neoplasm, kidney cancer, larynx cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, lung cancer (e.g., small cell and non-small cell), lymphoma, including Hodgkin's and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, melanoma, myeloma,

neuroblastoma, oral cavity cancer (e.g., lip, tongue, mouth, and pharynx), ovarian cancer; pancreatic cancer, retinoblastoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, rectal cancer, renal cancer, cancer of the respiratory system, sarcoma, skin cancer, stomach cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer; uterine cancer, cancer of the urinary system, as well as other carcinomas and sarcomas. Malignant disorders commonly diagnosed in dogs, cats, and other pets include, but are not limited to, lymphosarcoma, osteosarcoma, mammary tumors, mastocytoma, brain tumor, melanoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, carcinoid lung tumor, bronchial gland tumor, bronchiolar adenocarcinoma, fibroma, myxochondroma, pulmonary sarcoma, neurosarcoma, osteoma, papilloma, retinoblastoma, Ewing's sarcoma, Wilm's tumor, Burkitt's lymphoma, microglioma, neuroblastoma, osteoclastoma, oral neoplasia, fibrosarcoma, osteosarcoma and rhabdomyosarcoma, genital squamous cell carcinoma, transmissible venereal tumor, testicular tumor, seminoma, Sertoli cell tumor, hemangiopericytoma, histiocytoma, chloroma (e.g., granulocytic sarcoma), corneal papilloma, corneal squamous cell carcinoma, hemangiosarcoma, pleural mesothelioma, basal cell tumor, thymoma, stomach tumor, adrenal gland carcinoma, oral papillomatosis, hemangioendothelioma and cystadenoma, follicular lymphoma, intestinal lymphosarcoma, fibrosarcoma and pulmonary squamous cell carcinoma. In rodents, such as a ferret, exemplary cancers include insulinoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, neuroma, pancreatic islet cell tumor, gastric MALT lymphoma and gastric adenocarcinoma. Neoplasias affecting agricultural livestock include leukemia, hemangiopericytoma and bovine ocular neoplasia (in cattle); preputial fibrosarcoma, ulcerative squamous cell carcinoma, preputial carcinoma, connective tissue neoplasia and mastocytoma (in horses); hepatocellular carcinoma (in swine); lymphoma and pulmonary adenomatosis (in sheep); pulmonary sarcoma, lymphoma, Rous sarcoma, reticulo-endotheliosis, fibrosarcoma, nephroblastoma, B-cell lymphoma and lymphoid leukosis (in avian species); retinoblastoma, hepatic neoplasia, lymphosarcoma (lymphoblastic lymphoma), plasmacytoid leukemia and swimbladder sarcoma (in fish), caseous lumphadenitis (CLA): chronic, infectious, contagious disease of sheep and goats caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, and contagious lung tumor of sheep caused by jaagsiekte.

As used herein, the term "malignant," as it applies to tumors, refers to primary tumors that have the capacity of metastasis with loss of growth control and positional control.

As used herein, metastasis refers to a growth of abnormal or neoplastic cells distant from the site primarily involved in the morbid process.

As used herein, proliferative disorders include any disorders involving abnormal proliferation of cells, such as, but not limited to, neoplastic diseases.

As used herein, a method for treating or preventing neoplastic disease means that any of the symptoms, such as the tumor, metastasis thereof, the vascularization of the tumors or other parameters by which the disease is characterized are reduced, ameliorated, prevented, placed in a state of remission, or maintained in a state of remission. It also means that the indications of neoplastic disease and metastasis can be eliminated, reduced or prevented by the treatment. Non-limiting examples of the indications include uncontrolled degradation of the basement membrane and proximal extracellular matrix, migration, division, and organization of the endothelial cells into new functioning capillaries, and the persistence of such functioning capillaries.

As used herein, a "tumor cell" is any cell that has been extracted from a tumor. Tumor cells for use in the methods provided can be extracted from a primary tumor, a metastasized tumor or a hematopoietic neoplasm in a patient. Tumor cells for use in the methods provided also can be cancer cell lines derived from tumors.

As used herein, a "normal cell" is a cell that is not derived from a tumor. Typically, normal cells, from a patient or a primary cell culture, for use in the methods provided are used to compare the relative effects of a chemotherapeutic agent versus tumor cells for determination of relative toxicity to a patients non-tumor cells.

As used herein, a "primary cell" is a cell that has been isolated from a subject.

As used herein an "isolated cell" is a cell that exists in vitro and is separate from the organism from which it was originally derived.

As used herein, a "cell line" is a population of cells derived from a primary cell that is capable of stable growth in vitro for many generations. Cells lines are commonly referred to as "immortalized" cell lines to describe their ability to continuously propagate in vitro.

As used herein, therapeutic agents are agents that ameliorate the symptoms of a disease or disorder or ameliorate the disease or disorder. Therapeutic agent, therapeutic compound, therapeutic regimen or chemotherapeutic agent include conventional drugs and drug therapies, including vaccines, which are known to those skilled in the art and described elsewhere herein. Therapeutic agents include, but are not limited to, moieties that inhibit cell growth or promote cell death, that can be activated to inhibit cell growth or promote cell death, or that activate another agent to inhibit cell growth or promote cell death. Therapeutic agents for the methods provided herein can be, for example, an anti-cancer agent. Exemplary therapeutic agents include, for example, cytokines, growth factors, photosensitizing agents, radionuclides, toxins, anti-metabolites, signaling modulators, anti-cancer antibiotics, anti-cancer antibodies, angiogenesis inhibitors, radiation therapy, chemotherapeutic compounds or a combination thereof.

As used herein, an anti-cancer agent or compound (used interchangeably with "anti-tumor or anti-neoplastic agent") refers to any agents, or compounds, used in anti-cancer treatment. These include any agents, when used alone or in combination with other compounds or treatments, that can alleviate, reduce, ameliorate, prevent, or place or maintain in a state of remission of clinical symptoms or diagnostic markers associated with neoplastic disease, tumors and cancer, and can be used in methods, combinations and compositions provided herein. Exemplary anti-cancer agents include, but are not limited to, chemotherapeutic compounds, cytokines, growth factors, hormones, photosensitizing agents, radionuclides, toxins, anti-metabolites, signaling modulators, anti-cancer antibiotics, anti-cancer antibodies, anti-cancer oligopeptides, anti-cancer oligonucleotide (e.g., antisense RNA and siRNA), angiogenesis inhibitors, radiation therapy, or a combination thereof.

As used herein, a "chemotherapeutic agent" is any drug or compound that is used in anti-cancer treatment. Exemplary of such agents are alkylating agents, nitrosureas, antitumor antibiotics, antimetabolites, antimitotics, topoisomerase inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and signaling inhibitors. Exemplary chemotherapeutic agent include, but are not limited to, chemotherapeutic agents described elsewhere herein, such as Ara-C, cisplatin, carboplatin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin, gemcitabin, camptothecin, irinotecan, cyclophosphamide, 6-

mercaptopurine, vincristine, 5-fluorouracil, and methotrexate. The term "chemotherapeutic agent" can be used interchangeably with the term "anti-cancer agent" when referring to drugs or compounds for the treatment of cancer. As used herein, reference to a chemotherapeutic agent includes combinations or a plurality of chemotherapeutic agents unless otherwise indicated.

As used herein, a "chemosensitizing agent" is an agent which modulates, attenuates, reverses, or affects a cell's or organism's resistance to a given chemotherapeutic drug or compound. The terms "modulator", "modulating agent", "attenuator", "attenuating agent", or "chemosensitizer" can be used alternatively to mean "chemosensitizing agent." In some examples, a chemosensitizing agent can also be a chemotherapeutic agent. Examples of chemosensitizing agents include, but are not limited to, radiation, calcium channel blockers (e.g., verapamil), calmodulin inhibitors (e.g., trifluoperazine), indole alkaloids (e.g., reserpine), quinolines (e.g., quinine), lysosomotropic agents (e.g., chloroquine), steroids (e.g., progesterone), triparanol analogs (e.g., tamoxifen), detergents (e.g., cremophor EL), texaphyrins, and cyclic antibiotics (e.g., cyclosporine).

A set or library of compounds as used herein, refers to and means broadly, any group, mixture, library, or number of individual chemicals or compounds. The library of compounds can be a protein library, a small molecule library, a complex mixture of compounds, such as those derived from and/or extracted from natural sources, already known chemicals that can have unknown uses, and the like. For example, the library of compounds can be a protein library or a combinatorial peptide library. Such libraries are well known in the art and can be generated by well-known methods. For example, a protein library can be obtained by expressing a nucleic acid library. Protein, combinatorial peptide, chemical libraries, and the like, also can be obtained from a variety of commercial sources. The library of compounds also can be a complex compound mixture of any sort that is suitable for the methods described herein. One of skill in the art will appreciate that the library of compounds as described herein is not all-inclusive and that the methods can be applied to any other suitable library of compounds. Individual compounds can be screened one at a time or simultaneously.

Potential sources of compounds include total extracts, fractionated extracts, or pure compounds from 1) prokaryotic micro-organisms (bacteria, archaea), eukaryotic micro-organisms (fungi, algae, protozoans, helminthes), and viruses, viroids, or prions; 2) unicellular (algae) and multicellular plants, 3) vertebrate animals, 4) invertebrate animals. Compounds or compound mixtures can also be from biosynthetic sources such as combinatorially assembled biosynthetic pathways, genetically engineered biosynthetic pathways, or derived by in vitro or in vivo bioenzymatic conversion. Compounds or compound mixtures can also be from chemical synthetic sources such as chemical syntheses, chemical modification, or combinatorial libraries.

As used herein, nucleic acids include DNA, RNA and analogs thereof, including peptide nucleic acids (PNA) and mixtures thereof. Nucleic acids can be single or double-stranded. Nucleic acids can encode for example gene products, such as, for example, polypeptides, regulatory RNAs, siRNAs and functional RNAs.

As used herein, a sequence complementary to at least a portion of an RNA, with reference to antisense oligonucleotides, means a sequence of nucleotides having sufficient complementarity to be able to hybridize with the RNA, generally under moderate or high stringency conditions, forming a stable duplex; in the case of double-stranded antisense nucleic acids, a single strand of the duplex DNA (i.e., dsRNA) can thus be assayed, or triplex formation can be assayed. The ability to hybridize depends on the degree of complementarity and the length of the antisense nucleic acid. Generally, the longer the hybridizing nucleic acid, the more base mismatches with an encoding RNA it can contain and still form a stable duplex (or triplex, as the case can be). One skilled in the art can ascertain a tolerable degree of mismatch by use of standard procedures to determine the melting point of the hybridized complex.

As used herein, a heterologous nucleic acid (also referred to as exogenous nucleic acid or foreign nucleic acid) refers to a nucleic acid that is not normally produced in vivo by an organism or virus from which it is expressed or that is produced by an organism or a virus but is at a different locus, expressed differently, or that mediates or encodes mediators that alter expression of endogenous nucleic acid, such as DNA, by affecting transcription, translation, or other regulatable biochemical

processes. Heterologous nucleic acid is often not endogenous to a cell or virus into which it is introduced, but has been obtained from another cell or virus or prepared synthetically. Heterologous nucleic acid can refer to a nucleic acid molecule from another cell in the same organism or another organism, including the same species or another species. Heterologous nucleic acid, however, can be endogenous, but is nucleic acid that is expressed from a different locus or altered in its expression or sequence (e.g., a plasmid). Thus, heterologous nucleic acid includes a nucleic acid molecule not present in the exact orientation or position as the counterpart nucleic acid molecule, such as DNA, is found in a genome. Generally, although not necessarily, such nucleic acid encodes RNA and proteins that are not normally produced by the cell or virus or in the same way in the cell in which it is expressed. Any nucleic acid, such as DNA, that one of skill in the art recognizes or considers as heterologous, exogenous or foreign to the cell in which the nucleic acid is expressed is herein encompassed by heterologous nucleic acid.

As used herein, a heterologous protein or heterologous polypeptide (also referred to as exogenous protein, exogenous polypeptide, foreign protein or foreign polypeptide) refers to a protein that is not normally produced by a virus or cell.

As used herein, operative linkage of heterologous nucleic acids to regulatory and effector sequences of nucleotides, such as promoters, enhancers, transcriptional and translational stop sites, and other signal sequences refers to the relationship between such nucleic acid, such as DNA, and such sequences of nucleotides. For example, operative linkage of heterologous DNA to a promoter refers to the physical relationship between the DNA and the promoter such that the transcription of such DNA is initiated from the promoter by an RNA polymerase that specifically recognizes, binds to and transcribes the DNA. Thus, operatively linked or operationally associated refers to the functional relationship of a nucleic acid, such as DNA, with regulatory and effector sequences of nucleotides, such as promoters, enhancers, transcriptional and translational stop sites, and other signal sequences. For example, operative linkage of DNA to a promoter refers to the physical and functional relationship between the DNA and the promoter such that the transcription of such DNA is initiated from the promoter by an RNA polymerase that specifically recognizes, binds to and transcribes the DNA. In order to optimize expression and/or

transcription, it can be necessary to remove, add or alter 5' untranslated portions of the clones to eliminate extra, potentially inappropriate, alternative translation initiation (i.e., start) codons or other sequences that can interfere with or reduce expression, either at the level of transcription or translation. In addition, consensus ribosome binding sites can be inserted immediately 5' of the start codon and can enhance expression (see, e.g., Kozak J. Biol. Chem. 266: 19867-19870 (1991); Shine and Delgarno, Nature 254(5495): 34-38 (1975)). The desirability of (or need for) such modification can be empirically determined.

As used herein, a promoter, a promoter region or a promoter element or regulatory region or regulatory element refers to a segment of DNA or RNA that controls transcription of the DNA or RNA to which it is operatively linked. The promoter region includes specific sequences that are involved in RNA polymerase recognition, binding and transcription initiation. In addition, the promoter includes sequences that modulate recognition, binding and transcription initiation activity of RNA polymerase (i.e., binding of one or more transcription factors). These sequences can be cis acting or can be responsive to trans acting factors. Promoters, depending upon the nature of the regulation, can be constitutive or regulated. Regulated promoters can be inducible or environmentally responsive (e.g., respond to cues such as pH, anaerobic conditions, osmoticum, temperature, light, or cell density). Many such promoter sequences are known in the art. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,980,285; 5,631,150; 5,707,928; 5,759,828; 5,888,783; 5,919,670, and, Sambrook, et al, Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd ed., Cold Spring Harbor Press (1989).

As used herein, a native promoter is a promoter that is endogenous to the organism or virus and is unmodified with respect to its nucleotide sequence and its position in the viral genome as compared to a wild-type organism or virus.

As used herein, a heterologous promoter refers to a promoter that is not normally found in the wild-type organism or virus or that is at a different locus as compared to a wild-type organism or virus. A heterologous promoter is often not endogenous to a cell or virus into which it is introduced, but has been obtained from another cell or virus or prepared synthetically. A heterologous promoter can refer to a promoter from another cell in the same organism or another organism, including the

same species or another species. A heterologous promoter, however, can be endogenous, but is a promoter that is altered in its sequence or occurs at a different locus (e.g., at a different location in the genome or on a plasmid). Thus, a heterologous promoter includes a promoter not present in the exact orientation or position as the counterpart promoter is found in a genome.

A synthetic promoter is a heterologous promoter that has a nucleotide sequence that is not found in nature. A synthetic promoter can be a nucleic acid molecule that has a synthetic sequence or a sequence derived from a native promoter or portion thereof. A synthetic promoter can also be a hybrid promoter composed of different elements derived from different native promoters.

As used herein a "gene expression cassette" or "expression cassette" is a nucleic acid construct, containing nucleic acid elements that are capable of effecting expression of a gene in hosts that are compatible with such sequences. Expression cassettes include at least promoters and optionally, transcription termination signals. Typically, the expression cassette includes a nucleic acid to be transcribed operably linked to a promoter. Additional factors helpful in effecting expression can also be used as described herein. Expression cassettes can contain genes that encode, for example, a therapeutic gene product or a detectable protein or a selectable marker gene.

As used herein, production by recombinant means by using recombinant DNA methods means the use of the well known methods of molecular biology for expressing proteins encoded by cloned DNA.

As used herein, vector (or plasmid) refers to discrete elements that are used to introduce heterologous nucleic acid into cells for either expression or replication thereof. The vectors typically remain episomal, but can be designed to effect integration of a gene or portion thereof into a chromosome of the genome. Selection and use of such vectors are well known to those of skill in the art. An expression vector includes vectors capable of expressing DNA that is operatively linked with regulatory sequences, such as promoter regions, that are capable of effecting expression of such DNA fragments. Thus, an expression vector refers to a recombinant DNA or RNA construct, such as a plasmid, a phage, recombinant virus or other vector that, upon introduction into an appropriate host cell, results in

expression of the cloned DNA. Appropriate expression vectors are well known to those of skill in the art and include those that are replicable in eukaryotic cells and/or prokaryotic cells and those that remain episomal or those which integrate into the host cell genome. Vectors can be used in the generation of a recombinant genome by integration or homologous recombination.

As used herein, an agent or compound that modulates the activity of a protein or expression of a gene or nucleic acid either decreases or increases or otherwise alters the activity of the protein or, in some manner, up- or down-regulates or otherwise alters expression of the nucleic acid in a cell.

As used herein, luminescence refers to the detectable electromagnetic (EM) radiation, generally, ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR) or visible EM radiation that is produced when the excited product of an exergonic chemical process reverts to its ground state with the emission of light. Chemiluminescence is luminescence that results from a chemical reaction. Bioluminescence is chemiluminescence that results from a chemical reaction using biological molecules (or synthetic versions or analogs thereof) as substrates and/or enzymes. Fluorescence is luminescence in which light of a visible color is emitted from a substance under stimulation or excitation by light or other forms radiation such as ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR) or visible EM radiation.

As used herein, chemiluminescence refers to a chemical reaction in which energy is specifically channeled to a molecule causing it to become electronically excited and subsequently to release a photon, thereby emitting visible light. Temperature does not contribute to this channeled energy. Thus, chemiluminescence involves the direct conversion of chemical energy to light energy.

As used herein, bioluminescence, which is a type of chemiluminescence, refers to the emission of light by biological molecules, particularly proteins. The essential condition for bioluminescence is molecular oxygen, either bound or free in the presence of an oxygenase, a luciferase, which acts on a substrate, a luciferin. Bioluminescence is generated by an enzyme or other protein (luciferase) that is an oxygenase that acts on a substrate luciferin (a bioluminescence substrate) in the presence of molecular oxygen and transforms the substrate to an excited state, which, upon return to a lower energy level releases the energy in the form of light.

As used herein, the substrates and enzymes for producing bioluminescence are genetically referred to as luciferin and luciferase, respectively. When reference is made to a particular species thereof, for clarity, each generic term is used with the name of the organism from which it derives such as, for example, click beetle luciferase or firefly luciferase.

As used herein, luciferase refers to oxygenases that catalyze a light emitting reaction. For instance, bacterial luciferases catalyze the oxidation of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and aliphatic aldehydes, which produces light. Another class of luciferases, found among marine arthropods, catalyzes the oxidation of Cypridina (Vargula) luciferin and another class of luciferases catalyzes the oxidation of Coleoptera luciferin.

As used herein, capable of conversion into a bioluminescence substrate refers to being susceptible to chemical reaction, such as oxidation or reduction, which yields a bioluminescence substrate. For example, the luminescence producing reaction of bioluminescent bacteria involves the reduction of a flavin mononucleotide group (FMN) to reduced flavin mononucleotide (FMNH 2 ) by a flavin reductase enzyme. The reduced flavin mononucleotide (substrate) then reacts with oxygen (an activator) and bacterial luciferase to form an intermediate peroxy flavin that undergoes further reaction, in the presence of a long-chain aldehyde, to generate light. With respect to this reaction, the reduced flavin and the long chain aldehyde are bioluminescence substrates.

As used herein, a bioluminescence generating system refers to the set of reagents required to conduct a bioluminescent reaction. Thus, the specific luciferase, luciferin and other substrates, solvents and other reagents that can be required to complete a bioluminescent reaction form a bioluminescence system. Thus a bioluminescence generating system refers to any set of reagents that, under appropriate reaction conditions, yield bioluminescence. Appropriate reaction conditions refer to the conditions necessary for a bioluminescence reaction to occur, such as pH, salt concentrations and temperature. In general, bioluminescence systems include a bioluminescence substrate, luciferin, a luciferase, which includes enzymes luciferases and photoproteins and one or more activators. A specific bioluminescence system can be identified by reference to the specific organism from which the

luciferase derives; for example, the Renilla bioluminescence system includes a Renilla luciferase, such as a luciferase isolated from Renilla or produced using recombinant methods or modifications of these luciferases. This system also includes the particular activators necessary to complete the bioluminescence reaction, such as oxygen and a substrate with which the luciferase reacts in the presence of the oxygen to produce light.

As used herein, a fluorescent protein (FP) refers to a protein that possesses the ability to fluoresce (i.e., to absorb energy at one wavelength and emit it at another wavelength). For example, a green fluorescent protein (GFP) refers to a polypeptide that has a peak in the emission spectrum at 510 nm or about 510 run. A variety of FPs that emit at various wavelengths are known in the art. Exemplary FPs include, but are not limited to, a green fluorescent protein (GFP), yellow fluorescent protein (YFP), orange fluorescent protein (OFP), cyan fluorescent protein (CFP), blue fluorescent protein (BFP), red fluorescent protein (RFP), far-red fluorescent protein, or near- infrared fluorescent protein. Extending the spectrum of available colors of fluorescent proteins to blue, cyan, orange, yellow and red variants, provides a method for multicolor tracking of fusion proteins.

As used herein, Aequorea GFP refers to GFPs from the genus Aequorea and to mutants or variants thereof. Such variants and GFPs from other species, such as Anthozoa reef coral, Anemonia sea anemone, Renilla sea pansy, Galaxea coral, Acropora brown coral, Trachyphyllia and Pectiniidae stony coral and other species are well known and are available and known to those of skill in the art. Exemplary GFP variants include, but are not limited to BFP, CFP, YFP and OFP. Examples of florescent proteins and their variants include GFP proteins, such as Emerald (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA), EGFP (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.), Azami-Green (MBL International, Woburn, MA), Kaede (MBL International, Woburn, MA), ZsGreenl (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.) and CopGFP (Evrogen/Axxora, LLC, San Diego, CA); CFP proteins, such as Cerulean (Rizzo, Nat Biotechnol. 22(4):445-9 (2004)), mCFP (Wang et al, PNAS U.S.A.101 (48): 16745-9 (2004)), AmCyanl (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.), MiCy (MBL International, Woburn, MA), and CyPet (Nguyen and Daugherty, Nat Biotechnol. 23(3):355-60 (2005)); BFP proteins such as EBFP (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.); YFP proteins such as EYFP (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.), YPet (Nguyen

and Daugherty, Nat Biotechnol. 23(3):355-60 (2005)), Venus (Nagai et al, Nat. Biotechnol. 20(1): 87-90 (2002)), ZsYellow (Clontech, Palo Alto, Calif.), and mCitrine (Wang et al.., PNAS USA.101 (48): 16745-9 (2004)); OFP proteins such as cOFP (Strategene, La Jolla, CA), mKO (MBL International, Woburn, MA), and mOrange; and others (Shaner NC, Steinbach PA, and Tsien RY., Nat Methods. 2(12):905-9 (2005)).

As used herein, red fluorescent protein, or RFP, refers to the Discosoma RFP (DsRed) that has been isolated from the corallimorph Discosoma (Matz et al., Nature Biotechnology 17: 969-973 (1999)), and red or far-red fluorescent proteins from any other species, such as Heteractis reef coral and Actinia or Entacmaea sea anemone, as well as variants thereof. RFPs include, for example, Discosoma variants, such as mRFPl, mCherry, tdTomato, mStrawberry, mTangerine (Wang et al, PNAS USA 101(48): 16745-9 (2004)), DsRed2 (Clontech, Palo Alto, CA), and DsRed-Tl (Bevis and Glick, Nat. Biotechnol, 20: 83-87 (2002)), Anthomedusa J-Red (Evrogen), Anemonia AsRed2 (Clontech, Palo Alto, CA), eqFP578 (Evrogen), TurboRFP (Evrogen), and TaqRFP (Evrogen). Far-red fluorescent proteins include, for example, Actinia AQ 143 (Shkrob et al, Biochem J. 392(Pt 3):649-54 (2005)), Entacmaea eqFPόl l (Wiedenmann et α/. Proc. Natl Acad. Sd. USA. 99(18):1 1646-51 (2002)), Discosoma variants such as mPlum and mRasberry (Wang et al., PNAS US λ.101(48):16745-9 (2004)), and Heteractis HcRedl and t-HcRed (Clontech, Palo Alto, CA).

As used herein the term assessing or determining is intended to include quantitative and qualitative determination in the sense of obtaining an absolute value for the activity of a product, and also of obtaining an index, ratio, percentage, visual or other value indicative of the level of the activity. Assessment can be direct or indirect.

As used herein, a "composition" refers to any mixture of two or more products or compounds. It can be a solution, a suspension, liquid, powder, a paste, aqueous, non-aqueous, or any combination thereof.

As used herein, "a combination" refers to any association between two or among more items. A combination can include one or more chemotherapeutic or anti-

cancer agents. Combinations can also include one or more components packaged as a kit.

As used herein, a kit is a packaged combination, optionally, including instructions for use of the combination and/or other reactions and components for such use.

For clarity of disclosure, and not by way of limitation, the detailed description is divided into the subsections that follow. A. Method for assaying chemotherapeutic agents

The efficacy of chemotherapy treatment can vary depending upon the nature of the cancer, the individual patient, the chemotherapeutic agent, and whether the chemotherapeutic agent is used in combination with one or more other chemotherapeutics or other treatments, such as radiation. Accurately predicting the in vivo efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent is important in determining an effective treatment regime that simultaneously minimizes or removes any unnecessary therapy. To predict whether a chemotherapeutic agent is or will be effective for treating a particular subject's cancer, chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance assays (CSRAs) can be used before, during and/or after chemotherapy treatment. Many assays that assess chemotherapeutic efficacy have been developed for various tumors, with varying predictive reliability and ease of use. The majority of these assays directly measure cell viability and growth to determine the sensitivity of the cells to a chemotherapeutic agent.

Provided herein are chemotherapeutic sensitivity assays for assessing or measuring the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents and/or other anti-cancer treatments for treating cancer. The methods provided herein are designed to assess the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents using a rapid, simple and reliable in vitro assay. In the chemotherapeutic sensitivity assays provided herein, tumor cells are grown in vitro and infected with a reporter virus. The reporter virus is one that exhibits a property or activity that is altered by the chemotherapeutic agent of interest. The activity or property, for example, can be inhibited or otherwise altered following infection of the tumor cell by the virus and contacting of the infected tumor cell with the chemotherapeutic agent. Such alteration in one or more activities or properties of the virus can then be measured. The alteration or its amount is an indicator of the

inhibition of tumor cell metabolism and/or proliferation by the chemotherapeutic agent. Hence, the assay is a method of assessing the sensitivity of the tumor cell to the chemotherapeutic agent.

In one example, the reporter virus is a vaccinia virus. A vaccinia virus can be used to assay the sensitivity of tumor cells to a chemotherapeutic agent, such as cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C) (Taddie et al, (1993) J. Virol. 67:4323-4336). Ara-C is a synthetic pyrimidine nucleoside analogue that inhibits DNA replication of the host cell genome and the vaccinia viral genome. The level of viral DNA replication in the host tumor cell, such as an acute myeloblasts leukemia cell, following exposure to Ara-C, can be determined and used as a measure of the level of host cell metabolic activity and, therefore, the sensitivity of the host tumor cell to the chemotherapeutic agent. Viral DNA replication can be measured in several ways, such as by measuring the number of productive virus particles, or very rapidly by determining the expression of a protein, such as a detectable reporter protein whose expression is dependent upon DNA replication. In another example, the reporter virus can express a reporter protein that interacts with a cellular protein, such as a cellular protein that is expressed during cell death. The interaction results in a detectable change in the reporter protein that can be measured, and which can be used to detect host cell death.

1. Chemotherapeutic sensitivity assay

The methods provided herein to assess the efficacy of anticancer treatments employ an assay that involves a small number of simple steps, and can be performed in a relatively short period of time. The assay can be used with a wide variety of neoplastic cells, including solid tumors and hematopoietic neoplasms (located in the blood and blood-forming tissue) as well as tumor cell lines, and can be adapted to assay a variety of anticancer and chemotherapeutic agents. The assay typically involves the steps of 1) preparing the cells, such as by harvesting tumor cells from a subject; 2) infecting the cells with one or more reporter viruses; 3) exposing the infected cells to one or more chemotherapeutic agents, or putative chemotherapeutic agents; and 4) assaying for chemotherapeutic efficacy via a detectable change in a property or activity of the virus. In some examples, such as for screening new chemotherapeutic agents, anti-cancer treatments or potential anti-proliferative compounds, non-primary tumor cell lines and non-tumor cell lines can be used.

In some examples the steps of the method include (a) infecting isolated cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent; and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression or detecting reporter gene expression, where a change in expression of the reporter gene, compared to reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

In another example the steps of the method include (a) infecting two or more sets of isolated cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent; and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression or detecting reporter gene expression, where a change in expression of the reporter gene, compared to reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

In another example the steps of the method include (a) infecting two or more sets of isolated cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a first chemotherapeutic agent and separately treating one or more additional sets of infected cells with a second chemotherapeutic agent, whereby the therapeutic efficiency of first chemotherapeutic agent and the second chemotherapeutic agent are compared; and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression or detecting reporter gene expression, where a change in expression of the reporter gene, compared to reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent is a candidate for having therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

In another example, the steps of the method include (a) infecting cells with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent; and (c) measuring the level of reporter gene expression, where a decrease in expression of the reporter gene, compared to the level of reporter gene expression in

the absence of the compound, indicates that the compound has therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer.

In another example the steps of the method include (a) separately infecting two or more cancer cell types with a reporter virus that contains one or more reporter genes that is/are expressed following infection of the cells; (b) contacting the infected cells with a chemotherapeutic agent; (c) measuring the relative decrease in the level of reporter gene expression compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent for each cell type, where a decrease in expression of the reporter gene, compared to the level of reporter gene expression in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, indicates that the chemotherapeutic agent has therapeutic efficacy for treatment of the cancer cell type. a. Harvesting tumor cells from patient

In some examples, where primary tumor cells are assayed for sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent, the initial step in the assay involves isolation of tumor cells from a subject, such as a patient that has cancer. This can be performed before, during, or after the patient has undergone one or more rounds of radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment. When the tumor is a solid tumor, isolation of tumor cells is typically achieved by surgical biopsy. When the cancer is a hematopoietic neoplasm, tumor cells can be harvested by methods including, but not limited to, bone marrow biopsy, needle biopsy, such as of the spleen or lymph nodes, and blood sampling. Biopsy techniques that can be used to harvest tumor cells from a patient include, but are not limited to, needle biopsy, aspiration biopsy, endoscopic biopsy, incisional biopsy, excisional biopsy, punch biopsy, shave biopsy, skin biopsy, bone marrow biopsy, and the Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). Typically, a non- necrotic, sterile biopsy or specimen is obtained that is greater than 100 mg, but which can be smaller, such as less than 100 mg, 50 mg or less, 10 mg or less or 5 mg or less; or larger, such as more than 100 mg, 200 mg or more, or 500 mg or more, 1 gm or more, 2 gm or more, 3 gm or more, 4 gm or more or 5 gm or more. The sample size to be extracted for the assay can depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the number of assays to be performed, the health of the tissue sample, the type of cancer, and the condition of the patient. The tumor tissue is placed in a sterile vessel, such as a sterile tube or culture plate, and can be optionally immersed in an

appropriate media. Typically, the tumor cells are dissociated into cell suspensions by mechanical means and/or enzymatic treatment as is well known in the art. In some examples, the cells from a tumor tissue sample can be subjected to a method to enrich for the tumor cells, such as by cell sorting (e.g. fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS)).

Once harvested, the tumor cells can be used immediately, or can be stored under appropriate conditions, such as in a cryoprotectant at -196 0 C. In some examples, the cells are maintained or grown in appropriate media under the appropriate conditions {e.g., 37 0 C in 5% CO 2 ) to facilitate attachment of the cells to the surface of the culture plate and, in some instances, formation of a monolayer. Any media useful in culturing cells can be used, and media and growth conditions are well known in the art (see e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,423,145, 5,605,822, and 6,261,795, and Culture of Human Tumor Cells (2004) Eds. Pfragner and Freshney). In some examples, the culture methods used are designed to inhibit the growth of non-tumor cells, such as fibroblasts. For example, the tumor cells can be maintained in culture as multicellular particulates until a monolayer is established (U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,415), or the cells can be cultured in plates containing two layers of different percentage agar (U.S. Pat. No. 6,261,705). The tumor cells can be grown to the desired level, such as for example, a confluent monolayer, or a monolayer displaying a certain percentage confluency, such as 30% or more, 40% or more, 50% or more, 60% or more, 70% or more, 80% ore more, or 90% or more. In some examples, the cells are incubated for a short period of time, long enough to facilitate attachment to the culture plate, dish or flask. In still further examples, the cells are added to the culture dish in appropriate media and, optionally, either allowed to settle to the bottom of the culture dish by gravity, or forced to the bottom by, for example, centrifugation, and the assay is then continued without any substantial incubation or growth. Other examples can use cells in suspension.

In some examples, normal cells from the subject are also obtained for the chemotherapeutic sensitivity assay. The normal cells can be employed to compare the relative sensitivity of the normal cells to the tumor cells when exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent. Such information can be useful in the determination of therapeutic regimens for anticancer treatments in the patient.

b. Infection of cells with virus

The cells are infected with one or more reporter viruses. The reporter viruses are described elsewhere herein. A reporter virus (or reporter viruses) is selected for use in the assay. Among criteria for selecting a particular reporter virus are: the type of tumor cell to be assayed, the susceptibility of the cells to infection by the virus, and the property or activity of the reporter virus to be assayed. A single reporter virus can have more than one property or activity that can be assayed. In addition, a reporter virus can express a plurality of activities or properties that can be assayed, such as two reporter proteins. In another example, two or more types of reporter viruses can be used to infect the cells. For example, two different reporter viruses can each express one or more different reporter proteins.

For infection, the reporter virus is added to the tumor cells at a sufficient concentration, or multiplicity of infection (MOI) as to effect an appropriate level of infection that enables detection of chemotherapeutic efficacy by a particular method. The level of infection required is influenced by the methods by which viral sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is assessed, and can be determined by one of skill in the art. For example, if the level of expression of a reporter protein is assessed within hours of infection of the host tumor cell to determine the level of transcriptional activity following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, then a sufficiently high level of infection can be achieved immediately to rapidly produce detectable amount of the reporter protein. Therefore, a relatively high MOI, such as an MOI of about 10 or more, can be employed in the methods described herein. The type of reporter protein, and the sensitivity of the detection methods, also will influence the level of infection required. If sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is being assessed by the production of viral particles after several days, then a lower MOI, such as an MOI of 1, or 0.1, can be employed due to the exponential increase in viral particles during the several days of incubation.

Determination of a multiplicity of infection to use in the assay for a particular reporter virus can be determined using well-known methods to assess infectivity, such as by a plaque- forming unit (pfu) assay. For an assay to measure the level of expression of a reporter protein following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, typically a multiplicity of infection is selected to ensure all cells are infected.

c. Assaying for chemotherapeutic efficacy via inhibition of viral gene expression and/or viral replication

Following infection with the one or more reporter viruses, the infected tumor cells are then exposed, such as by contacting the cells, to the one or more chemotherapeutic agents being assayed. In some examples, two or more concentrations of each chemotherapeutic agent can be assayed. In addition, controls can be included. Controls include positive and negative controls. Positive controls can confirm, for example, whether infection occurs or whether the chemotherapeutic agent affects a cell that is known to be sensitive to the chemotherapeutic agent. Exemplary of a negative control is an assay in which infected cells are not contacted with the chemotherapeutic agent or are contacted with a vehicle without the chemotherapeutic agent. The step of exposing the cultured cells to a chemotherapeutic agent can be effected by adding the agent, typically in the form of a liquid solution or suspension, to the media in which the cells are maintained and leaving the agent for the remainder of the assay. Alternatively, the infected cells can be transiently exposed to the agent by adding the agent and, after a period of time, washing the agent off the cells, prior to detecting the effect of the agent on the virus. Typically, such washing steps include one or more exchanges of the media or an appropriate wash buffer followed by addition of fresh media or an appropriate assay buffer.

Following exposure to the chemotherapeutic agent, either transiently or continuously, the infected cells are incubated further for a period of time sufficient to allow the effects of the chemotherapeutic agent to be detected and differentiated from infected cells that have not been exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent. The time required is influenced by the method of detection, and can be empirically determined by one of skill in the art. For example, if the level of expression of a reporter protein is being used to determine the level of transcriptional activity following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, then a detectable level of reporter protein can accumulate in, for example, 2 hours or more, 6 hours or more, 12 hours or more or 24 hours or more following viral infection. The type of reporter protein, and the sensitivity of the detection methods, can influence the incubation time required. If sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is being assessed by the production of viral particles, then a

readily detectable amount of viral particles can be detected, for example, at 6 or more, 12 or more, 24 or more or 48 or more hours following infection.

The sensitivity of the tumor cells to the chemotherapeutic agent as measured by the effect of the chemotherapeutic agent on the reporter virus can be determined using several methods, and will be compatible with the type of reporter virus used. Any method known in the art that can determine the absolute or relative level of viral replication and/or viral gene expression can be used. In one example, the expression of a reporter protein under the control of a viral promoter that is sensitive to the chemotherapeutic agent is assessed and used as a measure of tumor cell sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent. Such viral promoters are typically dependent on one or more host cell proteins or processes, such that effects of the chemotherapeutic agent on the host cell are reflected in decreased or altered expression from the viral promoter. For example, late vaccinia promoters, such as the vaccinia PI l late promoter, are affected by exposure of the host cell to DNA replication inhibitors, such as Ara-C, which in turn prevents vaccinia late gene expression.

In one example of the assay, the expression of a reporter protein, such as a green fluorescent protein, a luciferase, or /3-galactosidase, under the control of a late vaccinia promoter, such as the vaccinia Pl 1 late promoter, can be assayed.

Any appropriate method known in the art can be employed to detect the expressed protein, including, but not limited to, colorimetric assays, luminescent or fluorescent detection methods, which can be used to detect proteins, either directly, or indirectly, such as by enzymatic reaction or immunological detection. Other detection methods that can be used to determine the absolute or relative level of viral replication and/or viral gene expression include, but are not limited to, calculating virus titer, such as by plaque assay or immunofluorescence, in situ hybridization, such as quantitative FISH, and other RNA hybridization techniques, flow cytometry, FRET analysis, BRET analysis, quantitative RT-PCR and quantitative PCR, ELISA, Western blotting and other immunodetection techniques.

2. Assay conditions

The precise conditions under which the assays are performed are selected according to the type of tumor cell, the reporter virus, and the detection method. Such conditions can be readily determined and modified by one of skill in the art. The

following are some typical conditions and parameters that can be used as a basis from which specific modifications can be made. The steps of harvesting, culturing and infecting the tumor cells are generally performed under conditions of sterility, to prevent the introduction of contaminating microorganisms. Once harvested, such as by biopsy, the tumor cells are processed and maintained and/or grown in any media suitable for culturing cells. Such media is well known in the art and includes, but is not limited to, Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI) medium, Minimum Essential Media (MEM; e.g., Modified Eagle Medium), Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Media (DMEM), F-IO Nutrient Mixtures and Leibovitz's L- 15 Medium. Typically, the media also contains serum supplementation, such as between 3% and 15% heat- inactivated fetal calf serum (FCS) or fetal bovine serum (FBS). Other supplements that can be contained in or added to the culture media include, but are not limited to, L-glutamine, penicillin, streptomycin, fungizone, agar and pH indicators. The cells are cultured and assayed in any appropriate system. For example, the cells can be seeded into multi-well tissue culture plates, such as, for example, 12, 24, 48 or 96 well plates. The number of cells aliquoted into each well, or into the appropriate culture system, can be selected based on the size or surface area of the culture system, the nature of the assay (i.e., the type of reporter virus and the viral activity or property being measured) and the sensitivity of the detection system. Typically, between 1 x 10 4 and 1 x 10 7 cells are seeded into each well of a multi-well culture plate, hi some examples, the cells are incubated at, for example, 37 0 C in 5% CO 2 for 6, 12, 24, 48 or 72 hours or more prior to infection with the reporter virus. The incubation time can be increased or decreased to obtain a healthy population of tumor cells at an optimal confluency or concentration. The media also can be changed at any time during the incubation. In other examples, the cells are not incubated or grown prior to infection with the reporter virus but are immediately used in the assay. In one example, a suspension of the cells is made in RPMI media containing 2% FCS and 1 x 10 5 cells are seeded into each well of a 96 well plate for immediate use.

Following harvesting and, in some instances, initial culture of the tumor cells, the reporter virus is added to the cells at an appropriate multiplicity of infection (MOI). An appropriate MOI can be selected based on the cell type infected, the nature of the assay (i.e., the type of reporter virus and the viral activity or property

being measured) and the sensitivity of the detection system. Typical MOIs include, but are not limited to, 0.1, 1, 10 and 100. In one example, the reporter virus is added to the tumor cells at an MOI of 10, such that 1 x 10 6 plaque forming units (PFU) is added to wells containing 1 x 10 5 tumor cells.

Following infection with the reporter virus, the chemotherapeutic agent is added. The chemotherapeutic agent can be added simultaneously to, or following (such as within minutes or hours), infection with the reporter virus. In one example, the chemotherapeutic agent is added immediately after the tumor cells are infected with the reporter virus. In some examples, one concentration of the chemotherapeutic agent is added to the infected cells. In other examples, two or more concentrations of the chemotherapeutic agent is added to separate sets of infected cells, such that a gradient of responses to the chemotherapeutic agent can be detected and a dose response curve for the chemotherapeutic agent can be generated. The range of appropriate concentrations at which the chemotherapeutic agent is added can be selected according the properties of the agent or class of agents, and will be known to those of skill in the art.

In one example presented in the Examples below, several concentrations of a solution containing the chemotherapeutic agent Ara-C is added to separate wells of a 96-well plate containing reporter virus-infected tumor cells to generate a final concentration of 1 nM, 10 nM, 100 nM, 1 μM, 10 μM, 100 μM or 1 mM Ara-C in each well. A negative control in which reporter virus-infected cells are exposed to no chemotherapeutic agent also is included in the assay.

In some examples, the chemotherapeutic agent(s) is/are are first dispensed into the microtiter plate, and the cells for the assay are infected with virus in a separate container. Following incubation with the virus to permit infection, the infected cells then are aliquoted to the microtiter plate, containing the chemotherapeutic agent(s).

In some examples, the host target cells are assayed in duplicate or triplicate, or other such multiple. The cells are incubated, for example at 37 0 C in 5% CO 2 , for an appropriate length of time, sufficient to allow the effects of the chemotherapeutic agent to be detected and differentiated from infected cells that have not been exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent. The time required is influenced by the method of detection, and can be determined by one of skill in the art. For example, if the level

of expression of a reporter protein is being used to determine the level of transcriptional activity following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, then a detectable level of reporter protein can accumulate in, for example, 2 hours or more, 6 hours or more, 12 hours or more or 24 hours or more. The type of reporter protein, and the sensitivity of the detection methods, also can influence the incubation time required. In one example, the cells are incubated for approximately 24 hours before the expression of a viral reporter protein is assessed.

Any method known in the art that can determine the absolute or relative level of viral replication and/or viral gene expression can be used to determine the sensitivity of the tumor cell to the chemotherapeutic agent, as evidenced by the effects of the chemotherapeutic agent on the reporter virus, where the method is compatible with the type of reporter virus used. Detection of reporter gene expression, for example, can be achieved using colorimetric, luminescent and fluorescent methods, and can be direct or indirect, such as by detection of an enzymatic reaction or immunodetection. Other methods to detect the absolute or relative level of viral replication and/or viral gene expression can include, but are not limited to, RT-PCR, PCR, in situ hybridization, such as quantitative FISH, and other RNA hybridization techniques, FRET analysis, BRET analysis, flow cytometry, ELISA, Western blotting and other immunodetection techniques. These and other methods are well known in the art, and can be used and adapted for the methods provided herein.

The chemotherapeutic assay described herein also can be modified for high throughput screening analysis, as discussed below.

3. Applications of method

The methods provided herein that describe a chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be used to rapidly evaluate the in vitro efficacy of one or more chemotherapeutic agents against one or more tumor cell populations. Any tumor cell population can be assayed for sensitivity in the methods provided herein. The tumor cell populations can be primary cells harvested directly from a patient, or tumor cell lines. The methods can be utilized to determine the in vitro sensitivity of a patient's tumor cells to one or more chemotherapeutic agents, the results of which can be used to predict the efficacy of the one or more chemotherapeutic agent in vivo. The methods can be

performed before, during or after the patient has undergone one or more rounds of chemotherapy.

The results obtained with the methods provide a measure of the therapeutic efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent or combinations of chemotherapeutic agents against particular tumors or different types of tumors. The methods can also be used to rank two or more therapeutic agents or combinations of therapeutic agents for determining the appropriate treatment of a individual subject or for treating a particular type of cancer in general. Methods for indexing and ranking chemotherapeutic agents based on chemotherapeutic sensitivity assays are known in the art and include, for example, methods described in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2006/0058966.

The results can therefore be used to aid in the design of an appropriate therapy protocol, or to monitor the predicted effectiveness of a current protocol. In one example, the chemotherapy efficacy assay is performed on a sample of the patient's tumor cells prior to commencement of chemotherapy. The results of the assay can assist in individualizing the cancer therapy by providing information about the likely in vivo response of a patient's tumor to a proposed therapy. For example, if the tumor cells are shown to be sensitive to a given chemotherapeutic agent, then the chemotherapeutic agent is a strong candidate for inclusion in therapy. If the tumor cells are shown to be resistant to a given chemotherapeutic agent, then the chemotherapeutic agent would likely not be included in therapy. Choosing the most effective agent for an individual patient is important, as it can eliminate unnecessary treatment with an ineffective agent, thereby avoiding unnecessary toxicity and side effects, and increase the likelihood of successful treatment by administering an effective agent at the earliest possible time.

The methods provided herein also can be used to determine the sensitivity of a patient's tumor cells to a chemotherapeutic agent after initial therapy has commenced but needs to be re-assessed, such as, for example, in instances of severe drug hypersensitivity, failed therapy, recurrent disease and metastatic disease. In such circumstances, an ongoing assessment of the efficacy of various chemotherapeutic agents is desirable. Such assessment helps to determine whether current or

previously-administered chemotherapeutic agents are still effective, or to identify new chemotherapeutic agents that can be used in a subsequent effective therapy regime.

The methods provided herein can be used as a laboratory aid to improve the effectiveness and focus of the pilot studies, phase I, or phase II studies needed to screen agents or combinations for new uses including, for example, agents that previously failed or have not successfully been tested in one or more clinical trials for the same or a different disorder, against the same or different types of tumors. The methods can be used to assess new agents and/or combinations of agents or a variety of agents and/or combinations of agents not yet approved for clinical use against a relevant cancer type using a panel of tumor samples of a given type, such as breast, uterine, ovarian, lung, colon, brain, prostate, pancreatic and/or against a variety cancer cell lines known to those skilled in the art. The results of such assays can be used to devise an optimum treatment for an individual patient. The results obtained provide an indication of which agents or combinations should be further examined in which particular types of tumors.

The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods presented herein also can be used to screen for and identify potential chemotherapeutic or antiproliferative agents from a collection of compounds, including, but not limited to, libraries of small molecules or peptides. Because of the large numbers of people affected by cancer, and the seriousness and cost, physically and financially, of the disease, there is a constant need for new and effective chemotherapeutic agents. There also is a need for a rapid and reliable means of screening these new chemotherapeutic agents. The methods provided herein can be used as such. The compounds identified using the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods provided herein can further be formulated as pharmaceuticals for administration to a patient for the treatment of cancer.

Known chemotherapeutic agents or identified potential chemotherapeutic agents can be screened for efficacy against particular cancer cell types using, for example, a panel of tumor cells lines derived from different cancers, many of which are known in the art. For example, many cells lines exist that represent leukemia, melanoma and cancers of the lung, colon, brain, ovary, breast, prostate, and kidney (see e.g., Kaur et al, (2006) Biochem. J. 396:235-242, U.S. Pat. Pub. No.

2007/0010452). The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described herein can be used to determine the sensitivity of one or more, such as a panel, of tumor cells lines to a new or known chemotherapeutic agent. In another example, one or more primary tumor cell samples (i.e., harvested directly from a patient's tumor) can be used in the chemotherapeutic or other potential antiproliferative compound.

4. Advantages of method over prior screening methods The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods presented herein can be used to assess the sensitivity of a particular sample of tumor cells, such as from a biopsy of a patient's tumor, to one or more chemotherapeutic agents, and also to screen one or more potential chemotherapeutic agents for efficacy against, for example, a particular tumor cell type or a panel of human tumor cell lines. Several chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance assays have previously been used in an effort to predict the in vivo efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent in a particular patient, hi many instances these assays culture the cells in the continuous presence or absence of drugs, most often for 3 to 7 days, but sometimes longer. At the end of the culture period, a measurement is made of cell proliferation or cell injury to determine the sensitivity of the cells to the agent. For example, the DiSC assay method assesses a loss of cell membrane integrity (which is a surrogate for apoptosis) by differential staining after an incubation period of approximately 6 days (Wilbur et al, (1992) Br J Cancer 65:27-32); the MTT (methyl-thiazol-tetrazolium) assay measures metabolic activity after an incubation period of between 2 to 4 days (Elgie et al, (1996) Leuk Res. 20:407-413, Xu et al, (1999) Breast Cancer Res. Treat. 53:77-85); the ATP assay determines the amount of ATP in the cells after an incubation period of approximately 6 days (Sharma et al. (2003) BMC Cancer 3:19-29); the fluorescein diacetate assay measures loss of cell membrane esterase activity and cell membrane integrity after 3 days of incubation; HTCA (human tumor cloning assay) and CCS (capillary cloning system) measure the ability of the cells to form colonies after incubation of several weeks; and the EDR assay measures the amount of tritiated thymidine uptake after 4 days (Kern et al, (1985) Cancer Res. 45:5436-5441). The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods presented herein provides a clear advantage in that the assay can be performed within 24 hrs of the cells being harvested and ready for assay, a time period that can be reduced further by careful

selection of appropriate reporter proteins and sensitive detection methods. In addition to reducing the time taken to complete the assay and determine the efficacy of the chemotherapeutic agent, use of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods presented herein removes the requirement for extended culture of the primary tumor cells, which can be difficult, and reduces the likelihood of contamination. The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay therefore provides a more simple and rapid assay for the assessment of tumor cell sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent.

The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods presented herein can additionally be a more informative assay. For example, the assay can provide an indication of relative drug uptake. In one example provided in the Examples below, the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay is used to determine the sensitivity of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells to the cytosine arabinoside (Ara- C). The prime determinants of Ara-C cytotoxicity are the level of drug uptake, and subsequent phosphorylation by deoxycytidine (dCK) into its active metabolite Ara- CTP. In vitro assessment of Ara-C efficacy has traditionally involved measurement of cell death or a reduction in metabolic activity, using the MTT assay. Assays, such as the MTT assay, can take up to 4 days to obtain results.

The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay also provides a simple, rapid and reliable assay that can be modified to suit a particular laboratory's requirements and preferences. The reporter viruses can, for example, be modified to express any reporter protein for which a preference exists. Furthermore, some of the reporter proteins can be detected in multiple ways to suit a particular purpose. For example, β-galactosidase and β-glucuronidase can be used as reporter proteins in the methods provided herein. A number of substrates exist for both proteins, which can be detected by colorimetric, fluorescent or luminescent methods, as well as by immunological methods. The speed, sensitivity and relative cost of each detection method differs, and a method can therefore be selected to suit any laboratory's need. B. Viruses for assay

Any virus whose genome replication, transcription, protein expression or viral particle production can be detectably associated with the host cell's sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent, or any virus that can be modified such that its genome

replication, transcription, protein expression or viral particle production can be detectably associated with the host cell's sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent, can be used in the methods provided herein. One of skill in the art can readily identify such viruses, and can adapt them for the methods described herein. Viruses used in the methods described herein also can be further modified to improve the suitability of the virus for use as a reporter virus. The mode of action of the chemotherapeutic being assayed can influence the type of virus that can be used as a reporter virus, and the modification(s) the virus exhibit. For example, because all viruses are dependent upon the viability and metabolic activity of the host cell for completion of their life cycle, all viruses will be affected by any chemotherapeutic agent that inhibits proliferation of the host cell i.e., any cytotoxic or cytostatic chemotherapeutic agent. Therefore, any virus can be used, or be modified for use, as a reporter virus to determine the efficacy of an anti-proliferative chemotherapeutic agent in the methods provided herein.

Viruses require many metabolic functions of living cells for their own propagation, and so inhibition of any one or more of these functions will result in a detectable reduction in the number of progeny virus produced. The inhibition of a specific metabolic function by a chemotherapeutic agent also can be detected by means other than detecting the number of progeny virus produced, such as, for example, by detecting expression, function or property of a reporter gene. The expression, function or property of a reporter gene encoded by the reporter virus can be associated with, or dependent upon, a particular function in the host cell. Inhibition of this function by a chemotherapeutic agent can therefore alter the expression, function or property of the reporter protein. In one example, a vaccinia virus can be modified to express a reporter protein from a vaccinia late promoter, which only initiates transcription following genomic DNA replication. This modified vaccine reporter virus can be used to detect, for example, sensitivity of the host cell to the pyrimidine nucleoside analog, Ara-C, which is an anti-metabolite that interferes with DNA replication. If a host tumor cell is sensitive to Ara-C and takes up the drug and converts it to the active metabolite Ara-CTP, then the host cell DNA replication and the viral genome DNA replication will be inhibited, which will be reflected by a reduction in reporter gene expression.

Any virus that naturally exhibits, or has been modified to exhibit, a detectable activity or property, such as expression of a protein, that is dependent upon or otherwise associated with a host cell function that is affected by a chemotherapeutic agent, can be used in the methods described herein. One of skill in the art can readily identify such associations and/or dependencies. Several additional parameters also can be considered to determine suitability of the virus for use as a reporter virus in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. These include the infection profile of the virus, the time course of infection, the effect of the infection on host cells and any safety considerations.

1. Virus characteristics for virus selection

Although all viruses are dependent upon host cell metabolic activity for their own propagation, different viruses display different characteristics which can be more or less suitable for a particular application of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods herein. The characteristics that a particular virus displays are selected to be compatible with the particular tumor cell type, and the particular chemotherapeutic agent that is being assayed. Several characteristics are generally considered when determining the suitability of the virus for use as a reporter virus in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, including, but not limited to, the infection profile of the virus, the time course of infection, the effect of the infection on host cells, the safety associated with using the virus, and the properties that the virus exhibits that can be used to assay the sensitivity of the host cell. All of these characteristics can be further modified by methods known in the art to improve the suitability of a virus for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. a. Infection profile

Of particular consideration is the infection profile of the virus, which includes the host range (tropism) and, for the purposes here, the cellular location of the virus. For a virus to be suitable for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assays described herein, the virus must be able to infect the tumor cell. In some cases, a virus is unable to enter the cell, a phenomenon that can be the result of a lack of expression of one or more receptors that mediate entry. In other instances, the virus enters the cell efficiently but cannot complete its life cycle as a result of cell-specific blockages. A virus that displays a broad host range is particularly amenable for use in the methods

described herein as the same reporter virus can be used to determine the efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent in tumor cells from multiple lineages. A virus that has a restricted host range also can be used in the methods described herein if the tumor cell being assayed for sensitivity is included in that host range. In some instances, a virus that infects a cell but does not efficiently produce progeny virions also can be used in the methods provided herein. For example, if a reporter virus infects a cell and expresses a sufficient amount of reporter protein, even in the absence of complete viral replication or life cycle, then chemotherapeutic efficacy can still be assessed by measuring the level of protein expression.

Manipulation of the expression of, for example, receptors and other host and viral factors can increase or otherwise alter the host range of a particular virus. For example, poxvirus tropism appears to be regulated by intracellular events downstream of virus binding and entry, rather than at the level of specific host receptors as is the case for many other viruses. A family of poxviral host range (hr) genes have been identified that mediate growth in restrictive cells. Expression of hr genes from one poxvirus in another poxvirus, or altered expression or modification of the products of these genes, can alter the tropism of the poxvirus and enable the virus to grow in cells that would otherwise have been restrictive (Wang et al, (2006) PNAS 103:4640- 4645). In another example, while vaccinia can efficiently infect almost all cell types in vitro, some manipulated strains of vaccinia virus that lack thymidine kinase (TK) and vaccinia growth factor (VGF) genes display a natural tropism for tumor cells (McCart et al. (2001) Cancer Res. 61 : 8751-8757; Zeh et al., (2002) Cancer Gene Therapy 9:1001-1012).

Another factor that can influence the suitability of the virus for the method provided herein is its cellular location once it has entered the cell. Viruses can replicate either in the host cell cytoplasm, such as vaccinia viruses, or in the nucleus, such as adenoviruses and herpesviruses. Both types of viruses can be used in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay if the viral activities used as a measure of sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent, such as expression of a reporter protein, are predictably affected by the chemotherapeutic agent in these compartments. b. Time course of infection

The time course of infection of the virus also can influence the suitability of a virus for use in the chemotherapeutic assay, and also influence the format of the assay, including what parameters are used to determine sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent, and when these parameters are measured. In one example, the virus employed in the methods provided herein has a relatively short time course of infection, such that transcription, translation or viral replication can be assayed within about 24 hours. The use of such viruses in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay ensures that results can be obtained in the shortest possible time. Viruses that exhibit a longer time course of infection also can be used, but the time taken to complete the assay will be lengthened.

Viruses infect the cell and proceed to transcribe and translate certain genes, replicate DNA and package virions, in a predictable temporal manner. If a virus is used in the methods herein has a known and well-characterized time course of infection, then the optimal time at which the viral activity used to assess sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is assayed can be easily determined. In one example, a vaccinia virus is used. The time course of infection for vaccinia is well known, and includes transcription of the early genes that is initiated within 20 minutes of infection, DNA replication approximately 1 -2 hours post-infection, followed by transcription of the intermediate and late genes approximately 2-4 hours after infection, and assembly of the virions approximately 6 hours post-infection (Moss et al, (1996) in Fields Virology 3 rd Ed. 2638-2671). One of skill in the art could determine, for example, the optimal time during the chemotherapeutic assay at which to assay expression of a reporter protein under the control of a vaccinia late promoter. Any virus can be used in the methods presented herein, but it is understood that the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be performed more rapidly, and can be optimized more easily, if a virus with a relatively short time course of infection is used. c. Effect on host cells

Viruses can have a range of effects on their host cell, including inhibition of host RNA, DNA or protein synthesis and cell death. The presence of the virus often gives rise to morphological changes in the host cell. Any detectable changes in the host cell due to infection are known as cytopathic effects, and can include cell

rounding, disorientation, swelling or shrinking, detachment from the growth surface and cell death. Cell death can be due to, for example, cell lysis following release of progeny viruses, or the induction of apoptosis. In some instances however, cell death is not imminent following infection, such as in the case of a latent infection when the viral nucleic acid sequence is incorporated into the cell but the cell is not actively producing viral particles (e.g., Herpes simplex virus), or when there is continued, low- level release of virions in the absence of rapid and severe host cell damage (e.g., hepatitis B virus and HIV). The severity and the rate at which these effects are observed vary widely, and can influence the suitability of a virus for use as a reporter virus in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. For the purposes herein, a virus that induces rapid cell death or apoptosis may not be suitable for use a reporter virus, as abrogation of host cell metabolism from viral effects can mask any inhibition of host cell metabolism from the chemotherapeutic agent being assayed. While any virus can be used in the methods provided herein, any viral effect of the selected virus on the host cell will be discernable from the chemotherapeutic agent's effect on the host cell. d. Safety considerations

The use and handling of biological materials in the research and diagnostics setting always requires consideration for the potential of exposure to infectious agents, and consideration for how any exposure potential can be reduced or eliminated, and how the consequences of exposure can be minimized. For example, guidelines have been established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States that cover the practices, procedures, equipment and facilities needed to be in place depending on the hazard associated with the biological material or agent in use. These Biosafety Levels (BSLs) are graded from the least restrictive conditions of BSLl (basic good microbiological practice) to those of BSL4 which are needed for work with highly toxic agents. While all biological laboratories generally maintain BSLl conditions, only very few are equipped with the expensive equipment required for BSL4, and have personnel trained sufficiently in the procedures that are carried out under these conditions. The type of virus used in the methods presented herein can affect the BSL requirements of the laboratory in which the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay is performed, and the health and/or vaccination status and training level requirements or

recommendations of the laboratory personnel performing the assay. A virus that is considered to be relatively safe for use in diagnostic or experimental procedures can be performed in a larger number of facilities, such as those with BSL-I or BSL-2 ratings, by a larger number of people, compared to a virus that is considered less safe and which can require a BSL-3 or BSL-4 laboratory. Exemplary viruses for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay are those that can be used under BSL-I, BSL-2 or BSL-3 conditions. In some examples, it can be desirable to generate a more attenuated strain of a virus for use as a reporter virus in the methods presented herein to increase the relative safety of the virus. In some examples, the reporter virus is a vaccinia virus, for which BSL-2 laboratory conditions are recommended. In other examples, the vaccinia virus is further attenuated by inactivation of the hemagglutinin genes, reducing further the infection risk to personnel. e. Exhibit properties that can be assayed

A virus selected for use as a reporter virus displays properties that can be readily assayed and used to determine the sensitivity of the host cell to a chemotherapeutic agent. The one or more properties that are assayed are dependent upon, or otherwise associated with, for example, host cell viability or host cell metabolic activity. The assayable viral properties can include, but are not limited to, genome replication, transcription, protein expression, protein properties and virion production. In examples where transcription or protein expression or properties are being assayed, the gene or protein that is being detected can be an endogenous viral gene or protein, or a gene or protein that is the result of the incorporation of heterologous nucleic acid into the viral genome. Still further, if transcripts or proteins resulting from the heterologous nucleic acid are being assayed, the heterologous nucleic acid can be under the control of an endogenous viral promoter or and exogenous promoter, including a synthetic promoter. As discussed above, the time course of infection of the given virus will influence the time at which the particular property is assayed following infection of the host tumor cell. The strength or level of activity of the property being detected also will influence the time at which the particular property is assayed, and will affect the suitability of a particular virus for use as a reporter virus in the methods described herein. The property being assayed must be of sufficiently high level or strength as to facilitate quantifiable detection, in

either absolute or relative terms. In some examples, the property being assayed is of sufficiently high level or strength as to facilitate quantifiable detection (in either absolute or relative terms) approximately 2 hours or more, 4 hours or more, 6 hours or more, 8 hours or more, 12 hours or more, 16 hours or more or 24 hours or more after infection of the host tumor cells.

If the production of virions (or progeny virus) is used to determine the sensitivity of a host cell to a chemotherapeutic agent, then the selected virus used typically produces a sufficient number of virions as to allow detection using a particular method. One of skill in the art can easily determine the level of virion production required to enable detection by a particular methods, such as, for example, plaque assay or immunodetection, and therefore the suitability of a particular virus for the methods provided herein. If, for example, the expression of a protein is used to determine the sensitivity of a host cell to a chemotherapeutic agent in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, then the expression must be of sufficient level as to allow detection using a particular method. As some detection methods are more sensitive than others, the minimum detectable levels will depend upon the method used. The level of transcription and/or translation of a protein is dependent upon the promoter to which it is operably linked. Strong promoters are those that support a relatively high level of expression, while weak promoters are those that support a relatively low level of expression. Such promoters are known in the art and can be used to modulate the expression of a protein.

Any method known in the art that can be used to detect a property of the reporter virus (in either absolute or relative terms) can be used in the methods provided herein to determine the sensitivity of the reporter virus to the chemotherapeutic agent and, therefore the sensitivity of the tumor cell to the chemotherapeutic agent, where the method is compatible with the type of reporter virus used. Detection of reporter gene expression, for example, can be achieved using spectrophotometric, luminescent and fluorescent methods, and can be direct or indirect. Other methods to detect the absolute or relative level of viral replication and/or viral gene expression can include, but are not limited to, plaque assay, immunohistochemistry, immunoassay, RT-PCR, PCR, quantitative FISH and flow

cytometry. These are other methods are well known in the art, can be used and adapted for the methods provided herein.

2. Modified Viruses

The viruses used in the methods provided herein can be further modified. Such modifications can, for example, enhance the ease with which the methods are performed, reduce the time taken to perform the methods, or provide conditions of increased safety, compared to unmodified viruses. The viruses used in the methods provided herein can be modified by any known method for modifying a virus. For example, the viruses can be modified to express one or more heterologous genes. The heterologous genes can be expressed under the control of endogenous viral promoters, or exogenous (i.e., heterologous to the virus) promoters, including synthetic promoters. In another example, the viruses can be modified to attenuate the virus. Attenuation of the virus can be effected by modification of one or more viral genes, such as by a point mutation, a deletion mutation, an interruption by an insertion, a substitution or a mutation of the viral gene promoter or enhancer regions. Methods for the generation of recombinant viruses using recombinant DNA techniques are well known in the art (e.g., see U.S. Pat. No. 4,769,330, 4,603,112, 4,722,848, 4,215,051, 5,110,587, 5,174,993, 5,922,576, 6,319,703, 5,719,054, 6,429,001, 6,589,531, 6,573,090, 6,800,288, 7,045,313, ϋc et al. (1998) PNAS 95(5): 2509-2514, Racaniello et al, (1981) Science 214: 916-919, Hruby et al, (1990) Clin Micro Rev. 3:153-170). a. Expression of a reporter protein

The viruses used in the methods provided herein can be modified to express one or more heterologous genes. Gene expression can include expression of a protein encoded by a gene and/or expression of an RNA molecule encoded by a gene. In some instances, the viruses can express one or more genes whose products are detectable or whose products can provide a detectable signal. These genes are often called "reporter genes", and their products are called "reporter proteins". A reporter gene and its product are generally amenable to assays that are sensitive, quantitative, rapid, easy and reproducible. Many reporter genes have been described in the art, and their detection can be effected in a variety of ways. These heterologous genes can be introduced into the viruses and used to easily assess, for example, the activity of the

promoter under which the reporter gene is controlled, the level of transcription and/or translation of the virally encoded genes, and in some instances, by inference, certain activities of the host cell in which the virus resides. In some examples, the reporter protein interacts with host cell proteins, resulting in a detectable change in the properties of the reporter protein. Expression of heterologous genes can be controlled by a constitutive promoter, or by an inducible promoter. Expression also can be influenced by one or more proteins or RNA molecules expressed by the virus. Host cell factors also can influence the expression of heterologous genes. Depending upon the factors that influence the expression of the reporter gene, the level of expression of the reporter gene can be used as an indicator for various processes within the virus, or within the host cell in which the virus grows. For example, if expression of the reporter gene relies on viral factors produced only after viral DNA replication occurs, then the level of the expression of the reporter gene can be used as a measure of the level of viral DNA replication. i. Exemplary reporter proteins

A variety of reporter genes that encode detectable proteins are known in the art, and can be expressed in the viruses in the methods provided herein. Detectable proteins include receptors or other proteins that can specifically bind a detectable compound, proteins that can emit a detectable signal such as a fluorescence signal, and enzymes that can catalyze a detectable reaction or catalyze formation of a detectable product. Thus, reporter proteins can be assayed by detecting endogenous characteristics, such as enzymatic activity or spectrophotometric characteristics , or indirectly with, for example, antibody-based assays.

(a) Fluorescent proteins

Fluorescent proteins emit fluorescence by absorbing and re-radiating the energy of light. Fluorescence can yield relatively high levels of light, compared to, for example, chemi luminescence, and is readily detected by various means known in the art. Many fluorescent proteins are known in the art and have been widely used as reporters. The first cloned of these, and the most well-known, is green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the Aequorea victoria (Prasher et al, (1987) Gene 111 : 229-233), which is a 27 kDa protein that produces a green fluorescence emission with a peak wavelength at 507 nm following excitation at either 395 or 475 nm. GFP also has

been cloned from Aequorea coerulescens (Gurskaya et al, (2003) Biochem J. 373:403-8). The wild-type GFP gene has been modified by, for example, point mutation, optimizing codon usage or introducing a Kozak translation initiation site, to generate multiple variants with improved and/or alternate properties. For example, a variant termed enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) contains a single point mutation that shifts the excitation wavelength to 488 run, which is in the cyan region, and optimized codon usage which yields greater expression in mammalian systems (Yang et al. Nucl Acids Res. 24 (1996), 4592-4593). Other variants are spectral variants which display blue, cyan and yellowish-green fluorescent emissions, generally referred to as blue fluorescent protein (BFP), cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) and yellow fluorescent protein (YFP). Examples of these and other variants of GFP include, but are not limited to, those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,625,048, 5,804,387, 6,027,881, 6,150,176, 6,265,548, and 6,608,189.

GFP-like proteins have been isolated from other organisms, particularly the reef corals in the class Anthazoa. While some of the GFP-like proteins emit a green fluorescence, such as the green fluorescent protein from the anthozoan coelenterates Renilla reniformis and Renilla kollikeri (sea pansies) (U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 2003/0013849), others fluoresce with an even wider range of colors than the GFP variants, including blue, green, yellow, orange, red and purple (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 7,166,444, Miyawaki et al. (2002) Cell Struct Func 21 : 343-347, Labas et al. (2002) PNAS. 99:4256-4261). Examples of the GFP-like fluorescent proteins include, but are not limited to, those set forth in Table 1.

* Adapted from Miyawaki et al. Cell Struct Fund 27 (2002), 343-34.

Other proteinaceous fluorophores include phycobiliproteins from certain cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae. These proteins are among the most highly fluorescent known (Oi et al , (1982) J. Cell Biol. 93 :981 -986), and systems have been developed that are able to detect the fluorescence emitted from as little as one phycobiliprotein molecule (Peck et al, PNAS. 86 (1989), 4087-4091). Phycobiliproteins are classified on the basis of their color into two large groups, the phycoerythrins (red) and the phycocyanins (blue). Examples of fluorescent phycobiliproteins include, but are not limited to, R-Phycoerythrin (R-PE), B- Phycoerythrin (B-PE), Y-Phycoerythrin (Y-PE), C-Phycocyanin (P-PC), R- Phycocyanin (R-PC), Phycoerythrin 566 (PE 566), Phycoerythrocyanin (PEC) and Allophycocyanin (APC). The genes encoding the phycobiliproteins have been cloned from a multitude of species and have been used to express the fluorescent proteins in a heterologous host (Tooley et al, (2001) PNAS. 98:10560-10565). The genes required for the expression of these or any other fluorophores can be cloned into the viruses used in the methods provided herein to generate a virus with a fluorescent reporter protein.

(b) Bioluminescent proteins

Chemiluminescence is a process in which photons are produced when molecules in an excited state transition to a lower energy level in an exothermic chemical reaction. The chemical reactions required to generate the excited states in this process generally proceed at a relatively low rate compared to, for example, fluorescence, and so yield a relatively low rate of photon emission. However, because the photons are not required to create the excited states, they do not constitute an inherent background when measuring photon efflux, which permits precise measurement of very small changes in light. Bioluminescence is a form of chemiluminescence that has developed through evolution in a range of organisms, and is based on the interaction of the enzyme luciferase with a luminescent substrate luciferin. The luciferases can produce light of varying colors. For example, the luciferases from click beetles can produce light with emission peaks in the range of 547 to 593 nm, spanning four colors (Wood et al, (1989) Science 244: 700-702).

Thus, luciferases for use in the methods provided are enzymes or photoproteins that catalyze a bioluminescent reaction (i.e., a reaction that produces bioluminescence). Some exemplary luciferases, such as firefly, Gaussia and Renilla luciferases, are enzymes which act catalytically and are unchanged during the bioluminescence generating reaction. Other exemplary luciferases, such as the aequorin photoprotein to which luciferin is non-covalently bound, are changed, such as by release of the luciferin, during bioluminescence-generating reaction. The luciferase can be a protein, or a mixture of proteins (e.g., bacterial luciferase). The protein or proteins can be native, or wild luciferases, or a variant or mutant thereof, such as a variant produced by mutagenesis that has one or more properties, such as thermal stability, that differ from the naturally-occurring protein. Luciferases and modified mutant or variant forms thereof are well known. For purposes herein, reference to luciferase refers to either the photoproteins or luciferases.

Exemplary genes encoding bioluminescent proteins include, but are not limited to, bacterial luciferase genes from Vibrio harveyi (Belas et al, (1982) Science 218: 791-793), and Vibrio fischerii (Foran and Brown, (1988) Nucleic acids Res. 16:177), firefly luciferase (de Wet et al, (1987) MoI. Cell. Biol. 7:725-737), aequorin from Aequorea victoria (Prasher et al, (1987) Biochem. 26:1326-1332), Renilla luciferase from Renilla renformis (Lorenz et al, (1991) PNAS. 88:4438-4442) and click beetle luciferase from Pyrophorus plagiophthalamus (Wood et al, (1989) Science 244:700-702). Other naturally occurring secreted luciferases include, for example, those from Vargula hilgendorfii, Cypridinia noctiluca, Oplophorus gracilirostris, Metridia longa and Gaussia princeps. Native and synthetic forms of the genes can be used in the methods provided herein. The luxA and luxB genes of bacterial luciferase can be fused to produce the fusion gene (Fab 2 ), which can be expressed to produce a fully functional luciferase protein (Escher et al, (1989) PNAS 86: 6528-6532). Transformation and expression of these and other genes encoding bioluminescent proteins in viruses can permit detection of viral infection, for example, using a low light and/or fluorescence imaging camera. In some examples, luciferases expressed by viruses can require exogenously added substrates such as decanal or coelenterazine for light emission. In other examples, viruses can express a

complete lux operon, which can include proteins that can provide luciferase substrates such as decanal.

Bioluminescence substrates are the compounds that are oxidized in the presence of a luciferase and any necessary activators and which generates light. With respect to luciferases, these substrates are typically referred to as luciferins that undergo oxidation in a bioluminescence reaction. The bioluminescence substrates include any luciferin or analog thereof or any synthetic compound with which a luciferase interacts to generate light. Typical substrates include those that are oxidized in the presence of a luciferase or protein in a light-generating reaction. Bioluminescence substrates, thus, include those compounds that those of skill in the art recognize as luciferins. Luciferins, for example, include firefly luciferin, Cypridina (also known as Vargula) luciferin, coelenterazine, dinoflagellate luciferin, bacterial luciferin, as well as synthetic analogs of these substrates or other compounds that are oxidized in the presence of a luciferase in a reaction the produces bioluminescence.

(c) Other Enzymes

In some examples, the viruses can express a gene encoding a protein that can catalyze a detectable reaction. Some commonly used reporter genes encode enzymes or other biochemical markers which, when active in the host cells, cause some visible change in the cells or their environment upon addition of the appropriate substrate. Two examples of this type of reporter are the E. coli genes lacZ (encoding β- galactosidase or "0-gal") and gusA or iudA (encoding /^-glucuronidase or "β-glu"). These bacterial sequences are useful as reporter genes because the cells in which they are expressed, prior to transfection, express extremely low levels (if any) of the enzyme encoded by the reporter gene. When host cells expressing the reporter gene (via heterologous expression from the virus) are incubated with an appropriate substrate, a detectable product is formed. The particular substrate used dictates the type of signal generated and the method of detection required. For example, β- galactosidase substrates include those that, when hydrolyzed by /3-galactosidase, form products that can be detected, for example, by spectrophotometry (e.g., o-nitrophenyl- β-D-galactoside (ONPG) or S-bromo^-chloro-S-indolyl-iS-D-galactopyranoside (X- gal)); fluorometry (e.g., a 4-methyl-umbelliferyl-j8-galactopyranoside compound

(MUG)); or via chemiluminescence (e.g., 1 ,2-dioxetane-galactopyranoside derivatives; Bronstein et al. (1996) Clin Chem. 42:1542-1546). Many substrates that facilitate the detection of enzymatic activity by various methods also exist for use with /^-glucuronidase, including, but not limited to, 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-/3-D- glucuronic acid (X-Gluc), which produces a blue precipitate following hydrolysis; p- nitrophenyl β-D-glucuronide which also can be used in a spectrophotometrical format; 4-methylumbelliferyl-j8-D-glucuronide (MUG), which can be used in a fiuorimetrical assay; and sodium 3-(4-methoxyspiro{l,2-dioxetane-3,2'-(5'-chloro)- tricyclo[3.3.1.1 3 ' 7 ]decan}-4-yl)phenyl-j3-D-glucuronate (Glucuron®; US6586196 and Bronstein et al. (1996) Clin Chem. 42:1542-1546), which can be used in a chemiluminescent assay.

Other exemplary reporter genes that can be expressed in the viruses used in the methods provided herein include secreted embryonic alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) and chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT). SEAP is a truncated form of human placental alkaline phosphatase that is secreted into the cell culture supernatant following expression. The alkaline phosphatase activity can be readily assayed using any of the substrates known in the art, and can be visualized by chemiluminescence (e.g., using the substrate CSPD [disodium 3-(4-methoxyspiro[l,2-dioxetane-3,2'(5'- chloro)-tricyclo(3,3,l,l 3 ' 7 )decan]-4-yl)phenyl phosphate]); fluorescence (e.g., using the substrate MUP [4-methylumbelliferyl phosphate]); or spectrometry (e.g., using the substrate p-nitrophenyl phosphate (PNPP)).

The bacterial gene encoding chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT), which catalyzes the addition of acetyl groups to the antibiotic chloramphenicol also can be cloned into the viruses and used to express a reporter protein. CAT activity can be monitored in several ways. In one method, cells infected by the virus expressing the CAT reporter gene can be lysed and incubated in a reaction mix containing 14 C- or 3 H-labeled chloramphenicol and n-Butyryl Coenzyme A (n-Butyryl CoA). The heterologously-expressed CAT transfers the n-butyryl moiety of the cofactor to chloramphenicol. The reaction products can be extracted, separated and the amount of radioactive n-butyryl chloramphenicol is assayed by liquid scintillation counting. The radioactive n-butyryl chloramphenicol resulting from CAT activity also can be analyzed using thin-layer chromatography.

Additional exemplary reporter genes include, but are not limited to enzymes, such as j8-lactamase, alpha-amylase, peroxidase, T4 lysozyme, oxidoreductase and pyrophosphatase.

(d) Proteins detectable by antibodies Viruses also can be modified to express a heterologous reporter protein that can be detected with antibodies, typically by indirect or direct Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Any protein against which a monoclonal antibody or polyclonal antibodies can be raised can be utilized for these purposes. For example, as a non-radioactive alternative, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase expression (as described above) can be quantified in an ELISA via immunological detection of the CAT enzyme expressed in the virus (see e.g., Francois et al, (2005) Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 49:3770-3775). In another example, the well-defined human Growth Hormone (hGH) reporter system can be utilized. When cloned into the viruses and expressed in the infected host cell, the hGH reporter protein can be secreted into the culture medium, which means that cell lysis is not necessary for quantifying the reporter protein. Detection of the secreted hGH can be carried out, for example, using 125 I-labeled antibodies against the growth hormone or with anti-hGH antibodies bound to the surface of a microtiter plate. For example, the hGH from the supernatant of the culture medium is added to the wells and binds to the antibody on the plate. The bound hGH can be detected in two steps via a digoxigenin-coupled anti-hGH antibody and a peroxidase-coupled anti-digoxigenin antibody. Bound peroxidase can then be quantified by incubation with a substrate.

(e) Fusion proteins

The viruses also can be modified to express reporter proteins that are fusion proteins, encoded by fusion genes. The fusion protein can contain all or part of an endogenous viral protein, or contain only heterologous amino acids sequences. The fusion protein can contain a polypeptide, protein or fragment thereof that is itself detectable, such as by spectrometry, fluorescence, chemiluminescence, or any other method known in the art, or catalyzes a detectable reaction or some visible change in the host cells or their environment upon addition of the appropriate substrate, or binds a detectable product. In one example, the fusion gene is a fusion of two individual genes that are required for a fully functional dateable product. For example, the luxA

and luxB genes of bacterial luciferase can be fused to produce the fusion gene (Fab2), which can be expressed to produce a fully functional luciferase protein, as described above. In another example, the fusion protein can contain more than one detectable element. For example, a fluorescent protein, such as GFP, can be expressed as a fusion protein with a bioluminescent protein, such as luciferase, or another fluorescent protein that differs in the wavelength of light emitted, such as DsRed. In another non- limiting example, an enzyme, such as /3-galactosidase, can be expressed as a fusion protein with a protein or polypeptide detectable by antibodies, such as hGH.

(f) Proteins that interact with host cell proteins The viruses also can be modified to express a reporter protein that directly interacts with one or more proteins that are expressed in the host cell. This interaction can result in a detectable change in the reporter protein such that the interaction can be measured. If the host cell proteins(s) are expressed during a particular biological process, then the reporter protein can be used to indicate the initiation of this process. In some examples, the reporter protein can be a substrate of a host cell protease. Once cleaved, one or more of the separate cleaved products can be differentially detected over the uncleaved protein. In one example, the virus can be modified to express a protein that contains a caspase target sequence, such as LEVD or DEVD. For example, a reporter virus can be modified to express a fusion protein that contains a caspase target sequence that is flanked by two fluorescent molecules, such as CFP and YFP. Cleavage of the fusion protein results in fluorescent signals that can be differentiated from the uncleaved protein by fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) analysis. FRET is a distance-dependent interaction between the electronic excited states of two dye molecules in which excitation is transferred from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule without emission of a photon. When two suitable fluorescent molecules are separated by a sufficiently short distance, FRET will occur and observed emission at the wavelength corresponding to the donor will increase. When the molecules are separated further, FRET decreases (Zaccolo et al, (2004) Circ. Res. 94:866-873). The uncleaved fusion protein results in intense FRET, but when caspases are activated in the target cell during apoptosis, the fusion protein is cleaved and the molecules are separated, so FRET diminishes (He et al, (2004) Am. J. Pathol. 164:1901-1913). In other examples, a fusion protein is made of a

luciferase and a fluorophore, linked by a cleavage sequence, and cleavage is detected by bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET) analysis (Hu et al., (2005) J. Virol. Methods 128:93-103). ii. Operable linkage to promoter

The heterologous nucleic acid sequences encoding a reporter protein can be expressed in the viruses by being operably linked to a promoter. The heterologous nucleic acid can be operatively linked to a native promoter or a heterologous (with respect to the virus) promoter. Any promoter known to initiate transcription of an operably-linked open reading frame can be used. The choice of promoter can, however, affect the timing (in relation to viral infection and replication) and the level of the expression of the reporter gene. In some instances, certain requirements exist when operably linking heterologous nucleic acid to the promoter to ensure optimal expression. For example, when a reporter gene is operably linked to a promoter for expression in vaccinia viruses, the heterologous nucleic acid typically does not contain any intervening sequences, such as introns, as the virus does not splice its transcripts. Methods and parameters for operably linking heterologous nucleic acids sequences to promoters for successful expression are well known in the art (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,769,330, 4,603,112, 4,722,848, 4,215,051, 5,110,587, 5,174,993, 5,922,576, 6,319,703, 5,719,054, 6,429,001, 6,589,531, 6,573,090, 6,800,288, 7,045,313; He et al. (1998) /WAS 95(5): 2509-2514; Racaniello et al. (1981) Science 214: 916-919; Hruby et al. (1990) Clin Micro Rev. 3:153-170).

(a) Promoter characteristics

The heterologous nucleic acid can be operatively linked to a native promoter or a heterologous (with respect to the virus) promoter. Any suitable promoters, including synthetic and naturally-occurring and modified promoters, can be used. The promoter region includes specific sequences that are involved in polymerase recognition, binding and transcription initiation. These sequences can be cis acting or can be responsive to trans acting factors. Promoters, depending upon the nature of the regulation, can be constitutive or regulated. Regulated promoters can be inducible or environmentally responsive {e.g., respond to cues such as pH, anaerobic conditions, osmoticum, temperature, light, or cell density). Inducible promoters can include, but are not limited to, a tetracycline-repressed regulated system, ecdysone-regulated

system, and rapamycin-regulated system (Agha-Mohammadi and Lotze (2000) J. Clin. Invest. 105(9): 1177-1183). Many promoter sequences are known in the art. See, for example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,980,285; 5,631,150; 5,707,928; 5,759,828; 5,888,783; 5,919,670, and, Sambrook, et al. Molecular Cloning: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd Ed., Cold Spring Harbor Press (1989). Synthetic promoters also can be generated. Specific cis elements that can function to modulate a minimal promoter, such as one that contains only a TATA box and an initiator sequence, can be identified and used to generate a promoter that is optimized for the intended use (Edelman et al (2000) PNAS 97:3038-3043). Synthetic promoters for the expression of proteins in vaccinia virus are known in the art, and can include various regulatory elements that dictate the expression profile of the protein (such as the stage in the viral life cycle at which the protein is expressed), and/or enhance expression (see e.g., Pfleiderer et al, (1995; J Gen Virol. 76:2957-2962, Hammond et al, (1997) J Virol Methods. 66:135-138, Chakrabarti et al, (1997) BioTechniques 23:1094-1097). Synthetic promoters also include chemically synthesized promoters, such as those described in U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 2004/0171573.

Promoters that are responsive to external factors, either directly or indirectly, can be selected for use. External factors can include, for example, drugs and inhibitors, such as chemotherapeutic drugs. In one example, the heterologous nucleic acid, such as that which encodes a reporter protein, is operably linked to a promoter that is sensitive to one or more chemotherapeutic drugs. That is, the expression of the heterologous protein from the promoter is inhibited by the chemotherapeutic agent. In another example, the heterologous nucleic acid, such as that which encodes a reporter protein, is operably linked to a promoter that is resistant to one or more chemotherapeutic drugs. That is, the expression of the heterologous protein from the promoter is unaffected by the chemotherapeutic agent. Such a promoter can be of any origin, including mammalian or viral, and be natural or synthetic.

Promoters also can be selected for use on the basis of the relative expression levels that they initiate. Strong promoters are those that support a relatively high level of expression, while weak promoters are those that support a relatively low level of expression. For example, the vaccinia virus synthetic early/late and late promoters are relatively strong promoters, whereas vaccinia synthetic early, P 7 5k early/late, P 7 5 ^

early, and P 28 late promoters are relatively weaker promoters (see e.g., Chakrabarti et al. (1997) BioTechniques 23(6) 1094-1097).

(i) Viral and host factors

Expression of heterologous proteins can be influenced by one or more proteins or molecules expressed by the virus, or one or more factors expressed by the host. For example, various viral transcription factors can bind other proteins or to the promoter sequence to initiate transcription, or various host factors can interact with one or more regions in the promoter sequence, or with one or more other factors, to initiate transcription. The expression or availability of these molecules and proteins can dictate, for example, level of expression, or the timing of expression, of the heterologous protein under the control of the promoter with which the factors interact.

In one example, the expression of a heterologous protein, such as a reporter protein, from a virus can be controlled temporally by using a promoter that requires interaction with one or more host or viral factors that are expressed, or are available, at a particular stage of the viral life cycle, to initiate transcription. Vaccinia virus coordinates its progression through its replicative cycle by expressing individual proteins at specific times. The temporal regulation of gene expression is controlled at the level of transcriptional initiation, and occurs through a cascade. The transcription factors required for intermediate genes are expressed as early proteins, factors required for late genes are intermediate gene products and the late genes products are packaged into the virions and act as transcription factors for early genes. For example, the vaccinia virus early transcription factor (ETF), which is a dimer made from the products of two late genes, interacts with two regions of the early promoters and recruits the RNA polymerase to the site of transcription. Initiation of transcription results in the synthesis of the early genes within minutes of viral entry into the cell, and is independent of de novo protein synthesis because ETF and the RNA polymerase are already present in the virion. In some instances, genes are expressed continuously, which can be achieved by a tandem arrangement of early and intermediate or late promoters operably linked to the open reading frame (Broyles et al, (1986) PNAS 83:3141-3145, Ahn et al., (1990) MoI Cell Biol. 10:5433-5441).

Nearly all viruses, including, but not limited to, poxviruses (including vaccinia virus), adenoviruses, herpesviruses, flaviviruses and caliciviruses link the switch from

early to late gene expression to genome replication. The intermediate genes are expressed immediately post-replication, followed closely thereafter by transcription of the late genes. In the absence of nucleic acid synthesis, transcriptional switch does not occur. Because of this regulated expression, inhibition of genome synthesis by, for example, the addition of inhibitors of nucleic acid synthesis such as cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C), results in the inhibition of intermediate and late gene transcription (Vos et al. (1988) EMBOJ. 7:3487-3492, Kao et al. (1987) Virology 159:399-407). Therefore, operably linking a heterologous gene to a viral intermediate or late promoter links its expression in the virally-infected host to certain stages of the viral life cycle i.e., after DNA replication. In contrast, operably linking a heterologous gene to a viral early promoter results in its expression immediately following viral entry into the host cell. By selecting the appropriate promoter, a reporter protein can therefore be used to reflect transcriptional activity at various stages of the viral life cycle, which can be linked to multiple viral and/or host factors, and/or external factors, such as drugs and inhibitors.

(b) Exemplary promoters

Exemplary promoters include synthetic promoters, including synthetic viral and animal promoters. Native promoters or heterologous promoters include, but are not limited to, viral promoters, such as vaccinia virus and adenovirus promoters. Vaccinia viral promoters can be synthetic or natural promoters, and include vaccinia early, intermediate, early/late and late promoters. Exemplary vaccinia viral promoters for use in the methods can include, but are not limited to, P 7 5 k, Pi ik > P SL , P SEL , P S E, H5R, TK, P28, CI lR, G8R, F17R, BL, I8R, AlL, A2L, A3L, HlL, H3L, H5L, H6R, H8R, DlR, D4R, D5R, D9R, Dl IL, D12L, D13L, MIL, N2L, P4b or Kl promoters. Other viral promoters can include, but are not limited to, adenovirus late promoter, Cowpox ATI promoter, T7 promoter, adenovirus late promoter, adenovirus ElA promoter, SV40 promoter, cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter, thymidine kinase (TK) promoter, or Hydroxymethyl-Glutaryl Coenzyme A (HMG) promoter.

In some examples, it can be desirable to choose promoters that initiate expression at particular time points in the viral life cycle. An exemplary vaccinia early promoter is a synthetic early promoter (P SE ), which typically initiates gene expression from 0-3 hours post infection. Exemplary vaccinia late promoters include,

but are not limited to, a vaccinia Ilk promoter (Pi i k ) and a synthetic late promoter (P SL ), which typically initiate gene expression 2-3 hours post-infection. Exemplary promoters in vaccinia virus that are expressed throughout the life cycle include tandem arrangements of vaccinia early and intermediate or late promoters (see e.g., Wittek et al. (1980) Cell 21 : 487-493; Broyles and Moss (1986) Proc. Natl. Acad. ScL USA 83: 3141-3145; Ahn et al. (199O) Mo/. Cell. Biol. 10: 5433-54441; Broyles and Pennington (1990) J. Virol. 64: 5376-5382). Exemplary vaccinia early/late promoters that express throughout the vaccinia life cycle include, but are not limited to, a 7.5K promoter (P 7 5 k) and a synthetic early/late promoter (P SEL )-

In some examples, it can be desirable to choose a promoter of a particular relative strength. For example, in vaccinia, synthetic early/late P SEL and many late promoters (e.g., Pn^ and P SL ) are relatively strong promoters, whereas vaccinia synthetic early, P SE , P 7 5k early/late, P 7 5k early, and P 28 late promoters are relatively weak promoters (see e.g., Chakrabarti et al. (1997) BioTechniques 23(6) 1094-1097). iii. Expression of multiple reporter proteins

A virus used in the methods provided herein can be modified to express two or more gene products that emit a detectable signal, catalyze a detectable reaction, bind a detectable compound, form a detectable product, or any combination thereof. Any combination of such gene products can be expressed by the viruses for use in the methods provided herein. Detection of the gene products, or reporter proteins, can be effected by, for example, spectrometry, fluorescence, chemiluminescence, histology or any other method known in the art. In certain examples, the virus can express the two or more reporter proteins as a fusion protein, such as described above. For example, a virus can be modified to express a fusion protein containing two fluorescent proteins that differ in the wavelength of light emitted, such as GFP and DsRed. In certain examples the two or more gene products are expressed as individual transcripts, from separate promoters. The promoters can be of the same type and sequence, or a different type and sequence. For example, two or more reporter genes can be transcribed separately from the same type of promoter, such as for example, the vaccinia P 7 5k early/late promoter, at different locations in the virus genome. Alternately, the two or more reporter genes can be transcribed from different promoters. For example, a vaccinia virus can be modified to express the β-

galactosidase gene (lacZ) under the control of the vaccinia P 7 5 early/late promoter, and the ^-glucuronidase gene igusA) under the control of the vaccinia Pi 1 late promoter. b. Other modifications

The viruses used in the methods provided herein can contain modifications other than, or in addition to, modifications that result in expression of one or more reporter proteins. Further modifications of the viruses can enhance one or more characteristics of the virus. Such characteristics can include, but are not limited to, attenuated pathogenicity, reduced toxicity, increased or decreased replication competence, increased, decreased or otherwise altered tropism, increased or decreased sensitivity to drugs, such as nucleoside analogs and any combination thereof. The modifications can be effected by any method known in the art, and can be introduced into the virus before, after, simultaneously, or in the absence of, the introduction one or more reporter proteins. In certain examples, the virus is modified to attenuate pathogenicity. In some examples, it can be desirable to generate a more attenuated virus. A more attenuated virus can be more suitable for in vitro assays, providing a safer environment for laboratory personnel and reducing the laboratory biosafety requirements. Attenuation of the virus can be effected by modification of one or more viral genes, such as by a point mutation, a deletion mutation, an interruption by an insertion, a substitution or a mutation of the viral gene promoter or enhancer regions. In such instances, it is advantageous to first identify a target gene involved in pathogenicity, although random mutagenesis also can result in attenuation of the virus. The target genes also are typically non-essential, such that the ability of the virus to propagate without the need of a packaging cell lines is preserved when the genes are not expressed, or expressed at decreased levels. In viruses such as vaccinia virus, mutations in non-essential genes, such as the thymidine kinase (TK) gene or hemagglutinin (HA) gene have been employed to attenuate the virus (e.g., Buller et al. (1985) Nature 317, 813-815, Shida et al. (1988) J. Virol. 62(12):4474-80, Taylor et al. (199I) J. Gen. Virol. 72 (Pt l):125-30, U.S. Patent Nos. 5,364,773, 6,265,189, 7,045,313). The inactivation of these genes decreases the overall pathogenicity of the virus without eliminating the ability of the viruses to replicate in certain cell types.

Attenuation also can be effected without eliminating or reducing the expression of one or more particular genes involved in pathogenicity. For example, increasing the number of genes that the virus expresses can cause competition for viral transcription and/or translation factors, which can result in changes in expression of endogenous viral genes. Such changes can affect viral processes involved in viral replication, thus contributing to the attenuation of the virus. For example, viral processes, such as viral nucleic acid replication, transcription of other viral genes, viral mRNA production, viral protein synthesis, or virus particle assembly and maturation, can be affected. Insertion of gene expression cassettes that require binding of host factors for efficient transcription can be used to compete the transcription and/or translation factors away from the endogenous viral promoters and transcripts. For example, insertion of gene expression cassettes that contain vaccinia strong late promoters into vaccinia virus can be used to attenuate expression of endogenous vaccinia late genes.

3. Exemplary viruses

Any virus whose genome replication, transcription, protein expression, protein properties, or virus progeny production can be detectably associated with the host cell's sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent, or any virus that can be modified as such, can be used in the methods provided herein. One of skill in the art can readily identify such viruses and can adapt them, if necessary, for the methods described herein. The virus can be a DNA or RNA virus, and be single-stranded or double- stranded. The viruses can be cytoplasmic viruses, such as poxviruses, or can be nuclear viruses, such as adenoviruses. The viruses used in the methods provided herein can have as part of their life cycle lysis of the host cell's plasma membrane. Alternatively, the viruses can have as part of their life cycle exit of the host cell by non-lytic pathways such as budding or exocytosis. In another example, the viruses used in the methods provided herein can cause apoptosis. Any wild-type virus, natural variant, or modified strain of a wild-type virus or natural variant (such as one that has been attenuated, modified to express a heterologous protein, modified to alter tropism etc.) can be used in the methods provided herein, although their relative suitability can differ, as discussed above in light of factors such as safety considerations, effect on host cells, infection profile, time course of infection, and

assayable properties. One skilled in the art can select from any of a variety of viruses, according to the factors that affect its suitability, as described above. a. DNA viruses

Viruses that possess DNA as their genetic material can be used as a reporter viruses in the methods provided herein. The nucleic acid can be double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) or single- stranded DNA (ssDNA). Single-stranded DNA is typically expanded to double-stranded DNA in infected cells. The DNA viruses can be cytoplasmic or nuclear, and replicate using a DNA-dependent DNA polymerase. Exemplary DNA viruses include, but are not limited to, Parvoviruses (e.g., Adeno- associated viruses), Adenoviruses, Asfarviruses, Herpesviruses (e.g., herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-I and HSV-2), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV)), Papillomoviruses (e.g., HPV), Polyomaviruses (e.g., Simian vacuolating virus 40 (SV40)), and Poxviruses (e.g., vaccinia virus, cowpox virus, smallpox virus, fowlpox virus, sheeppox virus, myxoma virus). i. Cytoplasmic viruses

DNA viruses for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods provided herein can be cytoplasmic viruses, where the life cycle of the virus does not require entry of viral nucleic acid molecules in to the nucleus of the host cell. A variety of cytoplasmic DNA viruses are known, including, but not limited to, poxviruses and African swine flu family viruses. In some examples, viral nucleic acid molecules do not enter the host cell nucleus throughout the viral life cycle. In other examples, the viral life cycle can be performed without use of host cell nuclear proteins.

In one example, the virus used in the methods described herein is selected from the poxvirus family. Mechanisms for the control of transcription are conserved across the members of the poxvirus family (Broyles et al. (2003) J. Gen. Virol 84: 2293-2303). Poxviruses include Chordopoxviridae such as orthopoxvirus, parapoxvirus, avipoxvirus, capripoxvirus, leporipoxvirus, suipoxvirus, molluscipoxvirus and yatapoxvirus, as well as Entomopoxvirinae such as entomopoxvirus A, entomopoxvirus B, and entomopoxvirus A. Chordopoxviridae are vertebrate poxviruses and have similar antigenicities, morphologies and host ranges; thus, any of a variety of such poxviruses can be used herein. One skilled in the art can

select a particular genera or individual chordopoxviridae according to the known properties of the genera or individual virus, and according to the selected characteristics of the virus (e.g., tropism, time course of infection). Exemplary chordopoxviridae genera are orthopoxvirus and avipoxvirus.

Avipoxviruses are known to infect a variety of different birds and have been shown to infect a variety of mammalian cells. Exemplary avipoxviruses include canarypox, fowlpox, juncopox, mynahpox, pigeonpox, psittacinepox, quailpox, peacockpox, penguinpox, sparrowpox, starlingpox, and turkeypox viruses.

Orthopoxviruses are known to infect a variety of different mammals including rodents, domesticated animals, primates and humans. Several orthopoxviruses have a broad host range, while others have narrower host range. Exemplary orthopoxviruses include buffalopox, camelpox, cowpox, ectromelia, monkeypox, raccoon pox, skunk pox, tatera pox, uasin gishu, vaccinia, variola, and volepox viruses. In some examples, the orthopoxvirus selected can be an orthopoxvirus known to infect humans, such as cowpox, monkeypox, vaccinia, or variola virus. Optionally, the orthopoxvirus known to infect humans can be selected from the group of orthopoxviruses with a broad host range, such as cowpox, monkeypox, or vaccinia virus.

(a) Vaccinia viruses

One exemplary orthopoxvirus for use in the methods provided herein is vaccinia virus. A variety of vaccinia virus strains are available, including Western Reserve (WR), Copenhagen, Tashkent, Tian Tan, Lister, Wyeth, IHD-J, and IHD-W, Brighton, Ankara, MVA, Dairen I, LIPV, LCl 6M8, LC 16MO, LIVP, WR 65-16, Connaught, New York City Board of Health (NYCBH). Exemplary vaccinia viruses are Lister viruses. Lister (also referred to as Elstree) vaccinia virus is available from any of a variety of sources. For example, the Elstree vaccinia virus is available at the ATCC under Accession Number VR-1549. The Lister vaccinia strain has high transduction efficiency in tumor cells with high levels of gene expression.

Vaccinia virus is an exemplary virus for the methods described herein because it has a quick, efficient life cycle, forming virions in about 6 hours after infection; it has a broad host and cell type range but does not cause any known human disease; it has a large genome that can accept exogenous DNA; and its biology is well-

characterized. Vaccinia is a cytoplasmic virus, thus, it does not insert its genome into the host genome during its life cycle. The linear dsDNA viral genome of vaccinia virus is approximately 200 kb in size, encoding a total of approximately 200 potential genes. The vaccinia virus genome has a large carrying capacity for foreign genes, where up to 25 kb of exogenous DNA fragments (approximately 12% of the vaccinia genome size) can be inserted. The genomes of several of the vaccinia strains have been completely sequenced, and many essential and nonessential genes identified. Due to high sequence homology among different strains, genomic information from one vaccinia strain can be used for designing and generating modified viruses in other strains. Finally, the techniques for production of modified vaccinia strains by genetic engineering are well established (Moss, (1993) Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 3: 86-90; Broder and Earl, (1999) MoI. Biotechnol. 13: 223-245; Timiryasova et al., (2001) BioTechniques 31 : 534-540). Historically, vaccinia virus was used to immunize against smallpox infection. More recently, modified vaccinia viruses are being developed as vaccines to combat a variety of diseases. The development of vaccinia strains for vaccination and other therapeutic protocols has resulted in the generation of a number of well-characterized, attenuated viruses.

During the vaccinia life cycle, transcription of vaccinia genes occurs in three stages: early, intermediate, and late, which correspond to the stages of viral replication and virion assembly. Progression through each stage occurs by coordinated involvement of viral and host proteins. Early stage gene expression depends on viral transcription factors located within the virion core, whereas late gene expression requires the cooperation of host proteins and viral factors, including newly expressed viral transcription factors. Exemplary of poxvirus early genes include those that encode proteins involved in evasion of host defenses, DNA replication, nucleotide biosynthesis, and intermediate gene transcription. Exemplary intermediate and late genes include those that encode factors needed for late gene expression and proteins involved in virion morphogenesis and assembly. In addition, several vaccinia genes are continuously transcribed throughout infection.

Transcription of vaccinia genes also can involve host factors. Studies have shown the involvement of host cellular proteins in the intermediate and late stages of vaccinia viral transcription. For example, reconstitution experiments for studying

vaccinia intermediate transcription in vitro indicated the requirement for one or more cellular factors located in the nuclear fraction, and additionally, in the cytoplasm of infected cells (Rosales et el. (1994) PNAS 91 :3794-3798). Ribonucleoproteins, such as A2/B1 and RBM3 were also found to activate transcription of vaccinia late promoters (Wright et al. (2001) J. Biol. Chem. 276:40680-40686, Dellis et al. (2004) Virology 329(2):328-336). Host cell nuclear proteins, such as YinYangl (YYl), SPl, and TATA binding protein (TBP) were subsequently found to be recruited from the nucleus to sites of vaccinia viral transcription in the cytoplasm (Slezak et al. (2004) Virus Res. 102(2):177-184; Oh and Broyles (2005) J. Virol. 79 (20): 12852-12860). TATA boxes, which bind to TBP, are located in many intermediate and late viral promoters, suggesting a role for this host factor in facilitating the recruitment of transcription factors to the vaccinia viral promoters. The formation of such TBP- associated complexes can furthermore aid in transcriptional switching from early to late viral genes (Knutson et al. (2006) J. Virol. 80:6784-6793). Binding sites for YYl are located downstream of the conserved TAAAT late promoter motif in vaccinia late promoters. YYl, which is a zinc finger transcription factor of the Kriippel family, is involved in the regulation of cellular genes by acting as an initiator element factor that promotes transcription (Shi et al. (1997) Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1332: F49-F66). Data on vaccinia virus suggests that YYl can play a similar role in vaccinia intermediate and late transcription (Broyles et al. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274(50):35662-35667). Furthermore, YYl has been shown to be required for transcription in other viruses, such as, for example, herpesviruses, papillomaviruses polyomaviruses, adenoviruses, parvoviruses, and retroviruses (Chen et al. (1991) J. Virol. 66:4303-4314, Bell et al, (1998) Virology 252:149-161, Bauknecht et al. (1992) EMBO J. 11 :4607-4617, Pajunnk et α/. (1997) J. Gen. Virol. 78:3287-3295, Martelli et al. (1996) J. Virol. 70:1433-1438, Zock et al. (1993) J. Virol. 67:682-693, Momoeda et al. J. Virol. 68:7159-7168, and Knossi et al. (1999) J. Virol. 73:1254- 1261).

Vaccinia viruses have been widely modified, such as by insertions, mutations or deletions. Such modifications can effect, for example, attenuation, changes in tropism, or expression of heterologous proteins, such as reporter proteins. Any of a variety of insertions, mutations or deletions of the vaccinia virus known in the art can

be included in the viruses used in the methods provided herein, including insertions, mutations or deletions of: the thymidine kinase (TK) gene, the hemagglutinin (HA) gene, the F14.5L gene (see e.g., U.S. Patent Pub. No. 2005-0031643), the FGF gene (see e.g., U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 20030031681); a hemorrhagic region or an A type inclusion body region (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,596,279); Hindlll F, FlSL, or Hindlll M (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,548,068); A33R, A34R, A36R or B5R genes (see, e.g., Katz et al, (2003) J. Virology 77:12266-12275); SalF7L (see, e.g., Moore et al, (\992) EMBO J. 11 :1973-1980); NIL (see, e.g., Kotwal et al, (1989) Virology 171 : 579-587); Ml lambda (see, e.g., Child et al, (1990) Virology. 174: 625-629); Hi?, Hindlll-MK, Hindlll-MKF, Hindlll-CNM, RR, or BamF (see, e.g., Lee et al., (1992) J. Fϊrø/. 66: 2617-2630); or C21L (see, e.g., Isaacs et al., (1992) /WλS. 89: 628-632).

(i) LIVP

In one example, the Lister strain can be an attenuated Lister strain, such as the LIVP (Lister virus from the Institute for Research on Virus Preparations, Moscow, Russia) strain, which was produced by further attenuation of the Lister strain . The LIVP strain (whose genome sequence is set forth in SEQ ID NO: 1) was used for vaccination throughout the world, particularly in India and Russia, and is widely available. The LIVP strain used in the methods presented herein can included further modifications. For example, the modified LIVP can include insertions in the TK and HA genes and optionally in the locus designed F3 (U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 2005/0031643).

(ii) Other vaccinia viruses

Other strains of vaccinia can be used in the methods herein including, but not limited to, Western Reserve (WR), Copenhagen, Tashkent, Tian Tan, Lister, Wyeth, IηD-J, and IηD-W, Brighton, Ankara, MVA, Dairen I, LC16M8, LC 16MO, WR 65- 16, Connaught, New York City Board of Health (NYCBH). Many of these have been used for therapeutic purposes, and so have been proven to be sufficiently attenuated for use with humans. These strains are under continual study and, in some cases, receiving further attenuation. For example, the highly attenuated LC16m8 (m8) strain, which was used in smallpox vaccination in Japan, was modified by deleting B5R to produce a more stable attenuated phenotype (Kidokoro et al. , (2005) PNAS 102:4152-4157). In another example, the WR strain was modified through

insertional deletion of the TK and VGF genes to produce a strain with reduced destruction of normal tissue, but preserved replication efficiency in tumor tissue (Zeh et al. (2002) Cancer Gene Therapy 9:1001-1012). Further still, many have successfully been modified to express exogenous proteins. For example, MVA and WR have been modified to express GFP (Sanchez-Puig et al, (2004) Virol. J. 1 :10- 17). ii. Nuclear viruses

Other DNA viruses that can be used as reporter viruses in the methods provided herein are those that include in their life cycle entry of a nucleic acid molecule into the nucleus of the host cell. A variety of such viruses are known in the art, and include herpesviruses, papovaviruses, adenoviruses, parvoviruses and orthomyxoviruses. Exemplary herpesviruses include herpes simplex type 1 viruses, cytomegaloviruses, and Epstein-Barr viruses. Exemplary papovaviruses include human papillomavirus and SV40 viruses. Exemplary orthomyxoviruses include influenza viruses. Exemplary parvoviruses include adeno associated viruses. Any wild-type virus, natural variant, or modified (such as attenuated) strain of a wild-type virus or natural variant can be used in the methods provided herein, although their relative suitability can differ, as discussed above in light of parameters such as safety considerations, effect on host cells, infection profile, time course of infection, and assayable properties. Modifications can be made to the viruses to alter these properties to generate a virus that is optimized for a particular application. b. RNA viruses

The virus used in the methods provided herein also can be an RNA virus. RNA viruses can be double-stranded, such as rotavirus, single-stranded and positive- sense, or single-stranded and negative-sense. Positive-sense viral RNA is identical to viral mRNA and thus can be immediately translated by the host cell. Positive sense ssRNA viruses include, but are not limited to, flaviviruses (e.g., Hepatitic C virus, West Nile virus), picornovirusues (e.g., Poliovirus, Hepatitis A virus, Rhino virus) and togaviruses (e.g., Sindbis virus, Rubella virus). Negative-sense viral RNA is complementary to mRNA and thus must be converted to positive-sense RNA by an RNA polymerase before translation. Negative-sense ssRNA viruses include, but are not limited to, paramyxoviruses (e.g., measles virus, mumps virus) and

orthomyxoviruses (e.g., influenza viruses). Other RNA viruses include retroviruses, which are enveloped viruses possessing a RNA genome, and which replicate via a DNA intermediate. Retroviruses include, but are not limited to, human T- lymphotropic virus (HTLV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Exemplary retroviruses include lentiviruses. Any wild-type virus, natural variant, or modified (such as attenuated) strain of a wild-type virus or natural variant can be used in the methods provided herein, although their relative suitability can differ, as discussed above in light of parameters such as safety considerations, effect on host cells, infection profile, time course of infection, and assayable properties. Modifications can be made to the viruses to alter these properties to generate a virus that is optimized for a particular application.

4. Production and preparation of virus

Any virus that exhibits selected properties and characteristics can be produced for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods provided herein. In some examples, a large amount of virus is produced and stored in small aliquots of known concentration that can be used for multiple procedures over an extended period of time. The virus is propagated in host cells, quantified and prepared for storage before finally being prepared to use in the methods described herein. A virus can be selected for use on the basis of various considerations, as described above and, optionally, further modified to enhance its suitability for use in the methods herein. In one example, a recombinant virus is generated, such as one that contains one or more insertions of heterologous nucleic acid. A recombinant virus can be generated by any method known in the art, and can contain any modification including, but not limited to, point mutations, insertions, deletions and combinations thereof. The virus can be propagated in suitable host cells to enlarge the stock, the concentration of which is then determined. In some examples, the infectious titer is determined, such as by plaque assay. The total number of viral particles also can be determined. The viruses are stored in conditions that promote stability and integrity of the virus, such that loss of infectivity over time is minimized. Conditions that are most suitable for various viruses will differ, and are known in the art, but typically include freezing or drying, such as by lyophilization. Immediately prior to use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, the stored viruses are

reconstituted (if dried for storage) and diluted in an appropriate medium or solution. The following sections provide exemplary methods that can be used for the production and preparation of viruses for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. a. Methods of generating recombinant virus

Methods for the generation of recombinant viruses using recombinant DNA techniques are well known in the art (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,769,330, 4,603,112, 4,722,848, 4,215,051, 5,110,587, 5,174,993, 5,922,576, 6,319,703, 5,719,054, 6,429,001, 6,589,531, 6,573,090, 6,800,288, 7,045,313; Ue et al. (1998) PNAS 95(5): 2509-2514 ; Racaniello et al. (1981) Science 214: 916-919; Hruby et al. (1990) Clin Micro Rev. 3:153-170). In one example, the virus is a vaccinia virus. Methods for the generation of recombinant vaccinia viruses are well known in the art (see, e.g., Hruby et al. (1990) Clin. Micro. Rev. 3:153-170; U.S. Pat. Pub. No. 2005/0031643; U.S. Pat. No. 7,045,313). For example, generating a recombinant vaccinia virus that expresses a heterologous protein typically includes the use of a recombination plasmid which contains the heterologous nucleic acid operably linked to a promoter, with vaccinia virus DNA sequences flanking the heterologous nucleic acid to facilitate homologous recombination and insertion of the gene into the viral genome. Generally, the viral DNA flanking the heterologous gene is complementary to a nonessential segment of vaccinia virus DNA, such that the gene is inserted into a nonessential location. The recombination plasmid can be grown in and purified from Escherichia coli and introduced into suitable host cells, such as for example, BSC-40, BSC-I and TK- 143 cells. The transfected cells are then superinfected with vaccinia virus which initiates a replication cycle. The heterologous DNA can be incorporated into the vaccinia viral genome through homologous recombination, and packaged into infection progeny. The recombinant viruses can be identified by methods known in the art, such as by detection of the expression of the heterologous protein, or by using positive or negative selection methods (U.S. Pat. No. 7,045,313). b. Host cells for propagation

The recombinant virus is propagated in an appropriate host cell. Such cells can be a group of a single type of cells or a mixture of different types of cells. Host cells can include cultured cell lines, primary cells, and proliferative cells. These host cells can include any of a variety of animal cells, such as mammalian, avian and

insect cells and tissues that are susceptible to the virus, such as vaccinia virus, infection, including chicken embryo, rabbit, hamster, and monkey kidney cells. Suitable host cells include, but are not limited to, hematopoietic cells (totipotent, stem cells, leukocytes, lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, APC, dendritic cells, non- human cells and the like), pulmonary cells , tracheal cells, hepatic cells, epithelial cells, endothelial cells, muscle cells (e.g., skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle or smooth muscle), fibroblasts, and cell lines including, for example, CV-I, BSC40, Vero, and BSC-I, and human HeLa cells. Typically, viruses are propagated in cell lines that that can be grown at monolayers or in suspension. For example, exemplary cell lines for the propagation of vaccinia viruses include, but are not limited to, CV-I, BSC40, Vero, BGM, BSC-I and RK-13 cells. Exemplary cell lines for the propagation of adenovirus include, but are not limited to, HeLa, MK, HEK 293 and HDF cells. Exemplary cell lines for the propagation of herpesviruses include, but are not limited to, WI-38 and HeLa cells. Other cell lines suitable for the propagation of a variety of viruses are well known in the art. c. Concentration determination

The concentration of virus in a solution, or virus titer, can be determined by a variety of methods known in the art. In some methods, a determination of the number of infectious virus particles is made (typically termed plaque forming units (PFU)), while in other methods, a determination of the total number of viral particles, either infectious or not, is made. Methods that calculate the number of infectious virions include, but are not limited to, the plaque assay, in which titrations of the virus are grown on cell monolayers and the number of plaques is counted after several days to several weeks, and the endpoint dilution method, which determines the titer within a certain range, such as one log. Methods that determine the total number of viral particles, including infectious and non-infectious, include, but are not limited to, immunohistochemical staining methods that utilize antibodies that recognize a viral antigen and which can be visualized by microscopy or FACS analysis; optical absorbance, such as at 260 nm; and measurement of viral nucleic acid, such as by PCR, RT-PCR, or quantitation by labeling with a fluorescent dye. d. Storage methods

Once the virus has been purified and the titer has been determined, the virus can be stored in conditions which optimally maintain its infectious integrity. Typically, viruses are stored in the dark, because light serves to inactivate the viruses over time. Viral stability in storage is usually dependent upon temperatures. Although some viruses are thermostable, most viruses are not stable for more than a day at room temperature, exhibiting reduced viability (Newman et al, (2003) J. Inf. Dis. 187:1319-1322). For short-term storage of viruses, for example, 1 day, 2 days, 4 days or 7 days, temperatures of approximately 4°C are generally recommended. For long-term storage, most viruses can be kept at -2O 0 C, -70°C or -80°C. When frozen in a simple solution such as PBS or Tris solution (2OmM Tris pH 8.0, 200 raM NaCl, 2-3% glycerol or sucrose) at these temperatures, the virus can be stable for 6 months to a year, or even longer. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles are generally avoided, however, since it can cause a decrease in viral titer. The virus also can be frozen in media containing other supplements in the storage solution which can further preserve the integrity of the virus. For example, the addition of serum or bovine serum albumin (BSA) to a viral solution stored at -80°C can help retain virus viability for longer periods of time and through several freeze-thaw cycles. In other examples, the virus sample is dried for long-term storage at ambient temperatures. Viruses can be dried using various techniques including, but not limited to, freeze-drying, foam- drying, spray-drying and desiccation. Other methods for the storage of viruses at ambient, refrigerated or freezing temperatures are known in the art, and include, but are not limited to, those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,149,653, 6,165,779, 6,255,289, 6,664,099, 6,872,357 and 7,091,030, and in U.S. Pat Pub. Nos. 2003/0153065, 2004/003841 and 2005/0032044.

Viruses can react differently to each storage method. For example, polio virus is readily degraded at room temperature in aqueous suspension, is stable for only two weeks at 0°C, and is destroyed by lyophilization. For this particular virus methods of storage typically involve freezing at -70°C or refrigeration at 4 0 C. In contrast, vaccinia virus is considered very stable, and can be stored in solution at 4 0 C, frozen at, for example -2O 0 C, -7O 0 C or -80°C, or lyophilized with little loss of viability (Newman et al, (2003) J. Inf. Dis. 187:1319-1322, Hruby et al, (1990) Clin. Microb. Rev. 3:153-170). Methods and conditions suitable for the storage of

particular viruses are known in the art, and can be used to store the viruses used in the methods presented herein. i. Lyophilization

Water is a reactant in nearly all of the destructive pathways that degrade viruses in storage. Further, water acts as a plasticizer, which allows unfolding and aggregation of proteins. Since water is a participant in almost all degradation pathways, reduction of the aqueous solution of viruses to a dry powder provides an alternative formulation methodology to enhance the stability of such samples. Lyophilization, or freeze-drying, is a drying technique used for storing viruses (see, e.g., Cτyole et al., (199$) Pharm. Dev. Technol, 3(3), 973-383). There are three stages to freeze-drying; freezing, primary drying and secondary drying. During these stages, the material is rapidly frozen and dehydrated under high vacuum. Once lyophilized, the dried virus can be stored for long periods of time at ambient temperatures, and reconstituted with an aqueous solution when needed. Various stabilizers can be included in the solution prior to freeze-drying to enhance the preservation of the virus. For example, it is known that high molecular weight structural additives, such as serum, serum albumin or gelatin, aid in preventing viral aggregation during freezing, and provide structural and nutritional support in the lyophilized or dried state. Amino acids such as arginine and glutamate, sugars, such as trehalose, and alcohols such as mannitol, sorbitol and inositol, can enhance the preservation of viral infectivity during lyophilization and in the lyophilized state. When added to the viral solution prior to lyophilization, urea and ascorbic acid can stabilize the hydration state and maintain osmotic balance during the dehydration period. Typically, a relatively constant pH of about 7.0 is maintained throughout lyophilization. e. Preparation of virus prior to assay

Immediately prior to use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, the virus is prepared at an appropriate concentration in suitable media, and can be maintained at a cool temperature, such as on ice, until use. If the virus was lyophilized or otherwise dried for storage, then it can be reconstituted in an appropriate aqueous solution. The aqueous solution in which the virus is prepared is typically the medium used in the assay (e.g., DMEM or RPMI) or one that is compatible, such as a buffered saline

solution (e.g., PBS, TBS, Hepes solution). In some examples, the virus is prepared in a relatively concentrated solution so that only a small volume is required in the assay. For example, if 1 x 10 6 PFU of virus is being added to tumor cells in a 96 well plate, then the virus can be prepared at a concentration of 1 x 10 8 PFU/ml so that only 10 μl is added to each well. C. Target cells for assay

Any eukaryotic cell that can be maintained or grown in vitro, and can be infected by one or more viruses that exhibit properties suitable for use herein (as described above), can be used in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods provided herein. The cells can be of any origin including, but not limited to, insect cells and animal cells, including mammalian cells such as human cells, non- human primate cells, monkey cells, mouse cells and rat cells. The cells also can be of any lineage including, but not limited to, cells from the epithelium, connective tissue, muscle tissue and nervous tissue, lymphoid cells, myeloid cells and neural cells. Cells used in the methods provided herein can be non-tumor cells (normal cells), or tumor cells. Exemplary cells are tumor cells. In one example, the cells used in the methods provided herein are primary cells, i.e., any non-immortalized cell that has been derived from various tissues and organs of a patient or an animal. The primary cells can be used in the methods provided herein immediately following isolation, after one or more passages or period of in vitro culture, or after storage. In another example, the cells are immortalized cells.

The cells can be obtained using any method known in the art, and can be maintained or grown in vitro, or stored, prior to use in the methods provided herein. Methods and conditions for the in vitro culture of a variety of primary and immortalized cells are known in the art.

1. Tumor cells

In one example, the cells used in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay are tumor cells. The tumor cells can be from solid tumors or hematopoietic neoplasms, and from any cell lineage. For example, the tumor cells can be of epithelial origin (carcinomas), arise in the connective tissue (sarcomas), or arise from specialized cells such as melanocytes (melanomas), lymphoid cells (lymphomas), myeloid cells (myelomas), brain cells (gliomas), mesothelial cells (mesotheliomas) or any other cell

type. Furthermore, the neoplastic cells can be derived from primary tumors or metastatic tumors.

Tumor cells can be isolated by any suitable means, hi one example, this involves the steps of (a) obtaining a sample of a tumor from a subject (e.g., a human cancer patient), (b) isolating tumor cells from the tumor sample, (c) forming a suspension of tumor cells (e.g., a single cell suspension), and (d) culturing the tumor cells. a. Exemplary cells

Host tumor cells assayed for sensitivity to a chemotherapeutic agent using the chemotherapeutic assay provided herein can be from a solid tumor, such as a tumor of the lung and bronchus, breast, colon and rectum, kidney, stomach, esophagus, liver and intrahepatic bile duct, urinary bladder, brain and other nervous system, head and neck, oral cavity and pharynx, cervix, uterine corpus, thyroid, ovary, testes, prostate, a malignant melanoma, cholangiocarcinoma, thymoma, non-melanoma skin cancers, as well as hematologic tumors and/or malignancies, such as childhood leukemia and lymphomas, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's disease, lymphomas of lymphocytic and cutaneous origin, acute and chronic leukemia such as acute lymphoblastic, acute myeloid or chronic myelocytic leukemia, plasma cell neoplasm, lymphoid neoplasm and cancers associated with AIDS. In one example, the tumor cells are from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

The tumor cells can be freshly isolated from a patient, or can be from a continuous cell line originally derived from a patient. Non-limiting examples of human tumor cell lines include CCRF-CEM (leukemia), HL-60 (leukemia), P388 (leukemia), P388/ADR (leukemia), KGIa (leukemia), THP-I (leukemia), K-562 (leukemia), MOLT-4 (leukemia), RPMI-8226 (leukemia), SR (leukemia), A549/ATCC (non-small cell lung cancer), EKVX (non-small cell lung cancer), HOP- 62 (non-small cell lung cancer), HOP-92 (non-small cell lung cancer), NCI-H226 (non-small cell lung cancer), NCI-H23 (non-small cell lung cancer), NCI-H322M (non-small cell lung cancer), NCI-H460 (non-small cell lung cancer), NCI-H522 (non-small cell lung cancer), LXFL 529 (non-small cell lung cancer), DMS 114 (small cell lung cancer), SHP-77 (small cell lung cancer), COLO 205 (colon cancer), HCC-2998 (colon cancer), HCT-116 (colon cancer), HCT-15 (colon cancer), HT29

(colon cancer), KM 12 (colon cancer), SW-620 (colon cancer), DLD-I (colon cancer), KM20L2 (colon cancer), SF-268 (central nervous system), SNB-78 (central nervous system), XF 498 (central nervous system), SF-295 (central nervous system), SF-539 (central nervous system), SNB-19 (central nervous system), SNB-75 (central nervous system), U251 (central nervous system), LOX IMVI (melanoma), RPMI-7951 (melanoma), M19-MEL (melanoma), MALME-3M (melanoma), M 14 (melanoma), SK-MEL-2 (melanoma), SK-MEL-28 (melanoma), SK-MEL-5 (melanoma), UACC- 257 (melanoma), UACC-62 (melanoma), IGR-OVl (ovarian cancer), OVCAR-3 (ovarian cancer), OVCAR-4 (ovarian cancer), OVCAR-5 (ovarian cancer), OVCAR-8 (ovarian cancer), SK-OV-3 (ovarian cancer), 786-0 (renal cancer), A498 (renal cancer), RXF-631 (renal cancer), SN 12Kl (renal cancer), ACHN (renal cancer), CAKI-I (renal cancer), RXF 393 (renal cancer), SN12C (renal cancer), TK-IO (renal cancer), UO-31 (renal cancer), PC-3 (prostate cancer), DU- 145 (prostate cancer), MCF7 (breast cancer), MDA-MB-468 (breast cancer), NCI/ADR-RES (breast cancer), MDA-MB-231/ATCC (breast cancer), MDA-N (breast cancer), BT-549 (breast cancer), T-47D (breast cancer), HS 578T (breast cancer), MDA-MB-435 (breast cancer), b. Methods of obtaining cells

In some examples, the cells are primary cells, cell lines or immortalized cells that can be retrieved from storage or from continuous culture. In other examples, the cells are harvested directly from the patient, which can be effected using any method known in the art. When the tumor is a solid tumor, this can be achieved by, for example, surgical biopsy. When the cancer is a hematopoietic neoplasm, tumor cells can be harvested by methods including, but not limited to, bone marrow biopsy, needle biopsy, such as of the spleen or lymph nodes, and blood sampling. Biopsy techniques that can be used to obtain a tumor sample include, but are not limited to, needle biopsy, aspiration biopsy, endoscopic biopsy, incisional biopsy, excisional biopsy, punch biopsy, shave biopsy, skin biopsy, bone marrow biopsy and the Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP). Typically, a non-necrotic, sterile biopsy or specimen is obtained that is greater than 100 mg, but which can be smaller, such as less than 100 mg, 50 mg or less, 10 mg or less or 5 mg or less; or larger, such as more than 100 mg, 200 mg or more, or 500 mg or more, l gm or more, 2 gm or more, 3 gm

or more, 4 gm or more or 5 gm or more. The sample size to be extracted for the assay can depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the number of assays to be performed, the health of the tissue sample, the type of cancer, and the condition of the patient.

2. Methods for preparation of isolated target cells Any cells used in the methods described herein are typically dissociated into cell suspensions by mechanical means and/or enzymatic treatment. In some examples, the cells are harvested by biopsy and the entire biopsy is dissociated. In other examples, specific cells or regions of the biopsy are first dissected away from the rest of the biopsy, such as by laser capture microdissection, and then dissociated. Mechanical means of dissociation can include, for example, agitation, such as is sufficient for cells already in suspension, and mincing of the tissue with sterile scissors or scalpel. Enzymatic treatment that can promote dissociation can include, but is not limited to, treatment with collagenase, trypsin, or another suitable digestive enzyme. This digestion can be carried out at room or at elevated temperature. In one example, the digestion is carried out at 37°C with agitation. In some examples, the cell suspensions can be treated to further isolate a desired cell population. For example, blood or bone marrow samples taken from AML patients can be treated with a solution containing 150 mM NH 4 Cl and 10 mM NaHCO 3 to lyse erythrocytes, and subjected to a lymphocyte separation treatment, such as a Ficoll-Isopaque density gradient, to purify leukocytes and enrich tumor cells (Guzman et al, (2001) Blood 98:2301-2307). In other examples, the tumor cells can be separated from non-tumors cells, such as by FACS sorting using antibodies against known tumor antigens, immunomagnetic separation or density centrifugation. Methods for the isolation of cells, including tumor cells, from biopsies and other samples are known in the art, and can be used to isolate cells for use in the methods described herein. a. Storage methods

In some examples, the isolated cells are stored in suitable media, such as for example, DMEM, RPMI or IMDM, with a serum additive prior to use in the methods provided herein. Short-term storage, such as for several hours or 1 day, can be at, for example, 4 0 C. Long-term storage of eukaryotic cells can be performed at freezing temperatures of -2O 0 C, -70°C or -80°C, or colder, such as in liquid nitrogen

(approximately -196°C). Cell viability following thawing is typically optimal after cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen. Cryoprotectants can be used to minimize or prevent the damage associated with freezing. A wide variety of chemicals can be used for cryoprotection including, but not limited to, methyl acetamide, methyl alcohol, ethyleneglycol and polyvinyl pyrrolidone, dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) and glycerol. In one example, DMSO is used at a final concentration of 5-15% (v/v). In another example, glycerol is used at a final concentration of between 5 and 20% (v/v). Other additives also can be included in the freezing medium including, but not limited to, serum or serum albumin. A variety of freezing media is known in the art and can be used to freeze cells for use in the methods provided herein. In one example, leukocytes isolated from a patient with AML are cryopreserved at a concentration of 5 x 10 7 cells/mL in freezing medium containing of Iscoves modified Dulbecco medium (IMDM), 40% fetal bovine serum (FBS), and 10% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) (Guzman et al, (2001) Blood 98:2301-2307).

3. Preparation of target cells prior to assay

Cells are prepared for use in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay by placing them in the media in which they will be cultured during the assay. Media suitable for culturing cells includes, but is not limited to, Roswell Park Memorial Institute (RPMI) medium, Minimum Essential Media (MEM; Modified Eagle Medium), Dulbecco's Modified Eagle Media (DMEM), Iscove's Modified Dulbecco's Media (IMDM), F-IO Nutrient Mixtures and Leibovitz's L- 15 Medium. Typically, the media also contains serum supplementation, such as between 3 and 15% heat-inactivated fetal calf serum (FCS) or fetal bovine serum (FBS). Other supplements that also can be contained in or added to the culture media include, but are not limited to, L-glutamine, penicillin, streptomycin, fungizone, agar and pH indicators. In some examples, the cells have been stored by cryopreservation and need to be thawed, such as by incubation in warm water with gentle agitation until completion of the thawing process. Rapid thawing (e.g., for 60 to 90 seconds at 37°C) can be employed in the methods as it generally reduces or prevents the formation of damaging ice crystals within cells during rehydration. The cells can be gently centrifuged and washed several times to completely remove the freezing medium, before resuspension in the culture medium.

In some examples, the cells are maintained or grown in appropriate media under the appropriate conditions (e.g., 37 0 C in 5% CO 2 ) to facilitate attachment of the cells to the surface of the culture plate and, in some instances, formation of a monolayer. In other examples, the cells are maintained or grown in suspension. Any media useful in culturing cells can be used, and media and growth conditions are well known in the art (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 4423145, 5605822, 6261795, and Culture of Human Tumor Cells. (2004) Eds. Pfragner and Freshney). In some examples, the culture methods used are designed to inhibit the growth of non-tumor cells, such as fibroblasts. For example, the tumor cells can be maintained in culture as multicellular particulates until a monolayer is established (U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,415), or the cells can be cultured in plates containing two layers of different percentage agar (U.S. Pat. No. 6,261,705). The tumor cells can be grown to the desired level, such as for example, a particular concentration in solution, or as a confluent monolayer, or a monolayer displaying a certain percentage confluency, such as 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% 90% or more. In some examples, the cells are incubated only for a short period of time to facilitate attachment to the culture plate, dish or flask prior to addition of the reporter virus. In other examples, the cells are added to the culture dish in appropriate media and used immediately in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, or either allowed to settle to the bottom of the culture dish by gravity, or forced to the bottom by, for example, centrifugation. The assay is then continued without any substantial incubation or growth of the cells. D. Agents to be assayed

The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be used to determine the sensitivity of a host cell to any agent that can affect the cell's metabolic activity and/or viability. Any drug or substance that is cytotoxic or cytostatic can be assayed using the methods provided herein, if the effect on the host cell can be reflected by a change in a detectable property or activity in the reporter virus. Other treatments that have a detectable affect on the cell's metabolic activity, replication or viability, and that also can be assayed using the methods provided herein, include, but not limited to, gamma irradiation, photodynamic therapy (PDT) and pulsating magnetic field treatment. In some examples, one chemotherapeutic agent is assayed using the methods provided herein. In other examples, two or more chemotherapeutic agents are assayed. One or

more chemotherapeutic agents also can be assayed for efficacy against a target cell in conjunction with another treatment, including, but not limited to, gamma irradiation, photodynamic therapy and pulsating magnetic field treatment. In another example, a chemotherapeutic agent can be assayed for efficacy against a target cell in conjunction with another molecule. For example, a chemotherapeutic agent can be linked to a targeting agent, or can be assayed in conjunction with another therapeutic agent. Any agent or treatment known in the art that can inhibit or otherwise affect the metabolic activity and/or viability of the target cell can be used and assayed in the methods herein.

1. Chemotherapeutic agents

Any agent that is a compound or a molecule or a drug that those of skill in the art consider chemotherapeutic agents can be assessed for efficacy for treatment of a particular subject's cancer or a particular cancer. Many chemotherapeutic agents act by impairing mitosis (cell division) or DNA synthesis and function, and effectively target fast-dividing cells. Chemotherapeutic agents include cytotoxic and cytostatic agents. For example, senescence can be induced in tumor cells following treatment with a chemotherapeutic agent. A senescent phenotype distinguishes tumor cells that survived drug exposure but lost the ability to form colonies from those that recover and proliferate after treatment. Although senescent cells do not proliferate, they are metabolically active, and can thus be distinguished from tumor cells undergoing cell death. Senescence can be associated with dosage, such that lower doses of a chemotherapeutic agent are more likely to induce senescence rather than cell death (Chang et al, (1999) Cancer Research 59, 3761-3767). Apoptosis has been considered the prevailing mechanism by which cell death is effected. Two major apoptosis pathways have thus far been elucidated; a caspase-9-mediated pathway and a caspase-8-mediated pathway. The cascade led by caspase-8 is involved in death- receptor-mediated apoptosis such as the one triggered by Fas, TNF, and TRAIL. The caspase 9-mediated pathway is thought to mediate chemical-induced apoptosis following DNA damage. Chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to be capable of inducing apoptosis through both mechanisms (Hannun et al, (1997) Blood 89:1845- 1853, Sun et al, (1999) J. Biol Chem., 274: 5053-5060, Ferreira et al, (2000) Cancer Research 60:7133-7141). Both pathways, however, lead to the activation of

one or more of the effector caspases, caspase-3, caspase-6, and caspase-7. Currently, a model of tumor response to therapy that is more heterogeneous in nature, wherein multiple modes of death combine to generate the overall tumor response, is being considered. The resulting mechanisms of cell death are likely determined by the mechanism of action of the drug, the dosing regimen used, and the genetic background of the cells within the tumor. Other forms of death include, but are not be limited to, mitotic catastrophe, treatment-induced senescence that can lead to death, and lytic necrosis. For example, doxorubicin at high doses can induce apoptosis, but at low doses can induce cell death through mitotic catastrophe that is earlier associated with a senescence-like phenotype (Eom et al. (2005) Oncogene 24:4765- 4777). In another example, low concentrations of paclitaxel blocked mitosis which led to the inhibition of cell proliferation and the induction of apoptosis. Higher concentrations stimulated the formation of microtubule bundles, which blocked entry into S phase, leading to the inhibition of cell proliferation and the induction of necrosis (Yeung et al (1999) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 263:398-404).

Chemotherapeutic drugs can be divided into alkylating agents, nitrosoureas, antimetabolites, anthracyclines and related drugs, antimitotics (generally plant alkaloids), topoisomerase inhibitors, signaling inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and other molecules and drugs that can be used as anti-tumor agents, including hormones and retinoids. Alkylating agents are organic chemicals that transfer alkyl groups to other molecules. Alkylating agents typically act by one of three different mechanisms: 1) attachment of alkyl groups to DNA bases, resulting in the DNA being fragmented by repair enzymes in their attempts to replace the alkylated bases, preventing DNA synthesis and RNA transcription from the affected DNA, 2) DNA damage via the formation of cross-links (bonds between atoms in the DNA) which prevents DNA from being separated for synthesis or transcription, and 3) the induction of mispairing of the nucleotides leading to mutations. Nitrosoureas are similar to alkylating agents, and interfere with DNA repair and replication. Nitrosoureas also can cross the blood-brain brain barrier. Antimetabolites block cell growth by interfering with metabolic activities, usually DNA synthesis, and are often purine or pyrimidine analogs that become incorporated in to DNA during the "S" phase of the cell cycle, inhibiting normal DNA replication and cell division. They

also can affect RNA synthesis. Anthracyclines and related drugs, also termed antitumor antibiotics, are a diverse group of compounds that can act by intercalating between base pairs to prevent DNA or RNA synthesis. They also can create iron- mediated free oxygen radicals that damage the DNA and cell membranes. The antimitotics are generally plant alkaloids and terpenoids that block cell division by preventing microtubule function. Topoisomerase inhibitors inhibit either type I or type II topoisomerases, which interferes with transcription and replication of DNA by interrupting proper DNA supercoiling. In some instances, certain chemotherapeutic agents fall into more than one category. For example, the topoisomerase II inhibitor etoposide is also an antimitotic plant alkaloid.

Some chemotherapeutic agents do not directly interfere with DNA replication. For example, signaling inhibitors such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib mesylate (Gleevec), directly target a molecular abnormality in certain types of cancer, such as chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors, that results in a continuously active tyrosine kinase. Imatinib mesylate competitively binds to the active site of the tyrosine kinase to inhibit enzyme activity. Monoclonal antibodies used as chemotherapeutic agents target a variety of proteins to inhibit various biological processes, and/or enhance immune responses against the tumor cells. In addition, other cancer treatments that do not fall into a known class of chemotherapeutic agents can be used in the methods provided. For example, hormones, steroids and retinoid substances also are now being used in the treatment of some tumors, but do not directly affect cellular DNA, and modulate tumor cell behavior in other ways. Such agents can be tested in combination with one or more known chemotherapeutic agents.

Examples of chemotherapeutic compounds include, but are not limited to, alkylating agents, such as thiotepa and cyclosphosphamide; alkyl sulfonates, such as busulfan, improsulfan and piposulfan; aziridines, such as benzodopa, carboquone, meturedopa and uredopa; ethylenimines and methylamelamines, including altretamine, triethylenemelamine, trietylenephosphoramide, triethylenethiophosphoramide and trimethylolomelamine; nitrogen mustards, such as chlorambucil, chlornaphazine, cholophosphamide, estramustine, ifosfamide, mechlorethamine, mechlorethamine oxide hydrochloride, melphalan, novembichin,

phenesterine, prednimustine, trofosfamide, uracil mustard; nitrosureas, such as carmustine, chlorozotocin, fotemustine, lomustine, nimustine, ranimustine; antibiotics, such as aclacinomysins, actinomycin, authramycin, azaserine, bleomycins, cactinomycin, calicheamicin, carabicin, carminomycin, carzinophilin, chromomycins, dactinomycin, daunorubicin, detorubicin, 6-diazo-5-oxo-L-norleucine, doxorubicin, neomycin, epirubicin, esorubicin, idarubicin, marcellomycin, mitomycins, mycophenolic acid, nogalamycin, olivomycins, phenomycin, pleomycins, peplomycin, potfiromycin, puromycin, purarubicin, quelamycin, rodorubicin, streptonigrin, streptozocin, tubercidin, ubenimex, zinostatin, zorubicin; antimetabolites, such as methotrexate (MTX) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU); folic acid analogues such as denopterin, methotrexate (MTX), pteropterin, trimetrexate; purine analogs, such as fludarabine, 6-mercaptopurine, thiamiprine, thioguanine; pyrimidine analogs, such as ancitabine, azacitidine, 6-azauridine, carmofur, cytarabine, dideoxyuridine, doxifluridine, enocitabine, floxuridine; androgens, such as calusterone, dromostanolone propionate, epitiostanol, mepitiostane, testolactone; anti- adrenals, such as aminoglutethimide, mitotane, trilostane; folic acid replenisher such as frolinic acid; aceglatone; aldophosphamide glycoside; aminolevulinic acid; amsacrine; bestrabucil; bisantrene; edatraxate; defo famine; demecolcine; diaziquone; elfornithine; elliptinium acetate; etoglucid; gallium nitrate; hydroxyurea; lentinan; lonidamine; mitoguazone; mitoxantrone; mopidamol; nitracrine; pentostatin; phenamet; pirarubicin; podophyllinic acid; 2-ethylhydrazide; procarbazine; polysaccharide-K; razoxane; sizofiran; spirogermanium; tenuazonic acid; triaziquone; 2, 2',2"-trichlorotriethylamine; urethan; vindesine; dacarbazine; mannomustine; mitobronitol; mitolactol; pipobroman; gacytosine; cytosine arabinoside; cyclophosphamide; thiotepa; taxoids, e.g., paclitaxel and doxetaxel; chlorambucil; gemcitabine; 6-thioguanine; mercaptopurine; methotrexate; platinum analogs such as cisplatin and carboplatin; vinblastine; platinum; etoposide (VP-16); ifosfamide; mitomycin C; mitoxantrone; vincristine; vinorelbine; navelbine; novantrone; teniposide; daunomycin; aminopterin; xeloda; ibandronate; 5-fluorouridine; calicheamicin; maytansine; CPTI l ; topoisomerase inhibitor RFS 2000; difluoromethylornithine (DMFO); retinoic acid; esperamicins; capecitabine; and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, acids or derivatives of any of the above. Also

included are anti-hormonal agents that act to regulate or inhibit hormone action on tumors such as anti-estrogens including for example tamoxifen, raloxifene, aromatase inhibiting 4(5)-imidazoles, 4-hydroxytamoxifen, trioxifene, keoxifene, LYl 17018, onapristone and toremifene (Fareston); and antiandrogens such as flutamide, nilutamide, bicalutamide, leuprolide and goserelin; and pharmaceutically acceptable salts, acids or derivatives of any of the above. Chemotherapeutic agents also include new classes of targeted chemotherapeutic agents such as, for example, imatinib (sold by Novartis under the trade name Gleevec in the United States), gefitinib (developed by Astra Zeneca under the trade name Iressa) and erlotinib.

The various classes of chemotherapeutic agents, and the individual chemotherapeutic agents within these classes, display different degrees of efficacy in the treatment of different tumors. Table 2 provides exemplary chemotherapeutic agents, their possible mode of action, and the types of cancer they are generally recommended for the treatment of. In some instances, treatment with these substances is recommended in combination with other treatments, or after other treatments have failed.

2. Selection of assay for a particular chemotherapeutic agent

The assay and reporter virus employed is a function of the chemotherapeutic agent whose potential efficacy is to be tested. The reporter virus used in the assay is selected to be compatible with the agent to be assessed. For example, the effect on a property or an activity of the reporter virus that is detectable reflects a biological effect of the chemotherapeutic agent on the host cell. In one example, a chemotherapeutic agent that inhibits DNA replication can be assessed in a chemotherapeutic efficacy assay using a reporter virus that expresses a reporter protein upon or after DNA replication. Therefore, a decrease in expression of the reporter protein indicates a decrease in DNA replication, and sensitivity of the target

cell to the chemotherapeutic agent. In another example, a chemotherapeutic agent that induces apoptosis can be assessed in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay using a reporter virus that expresses a reporter protein that can be cleaved by an intracellular caspase to produce a product that can be detected, such as a fluorescent product that can be detected by a decrease in FRET compared with the uncleaved protein (He et al. {20Qλ) Am. J. Pathol. 164:1901-1913). Any chemotherapeutic agent known in the art that produces a biological effect on a host target cell that can be associated with a detectable change in a property or activity of a virus can be used in the methods provided herein. In many instances, chemotherapeutic agents also are known antiviral agents with well-understood anti-viral mechanisms. For example, chemotherapeutic agents are known to be anti-poxvirus drugs, including, but not limited to, Ara-C and imatinib mesylate, actinomycin D, distamycin A and etoposide, (De Clercq (2001) Clin. Micro. Rev. 14:382-397, Silva et al. (2007) Virology J. 4:1-8, Broyles, et al. (2004) J. Virol. 78:2137-2141, Shuma (2004) Biochemistry 34:16138-47).

3. Combination treatments

Cancer treatments often combine different chemotherapeutic agents and therapies. For example, the most commonly used combination for Hodgkin's lymphoma is ABVD, which contains the drugs Adriamycin (doxorubicin), bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine. The combination of systemic multi-agent chemotherapy (5-fluorouracil and cisplatin) and tumor irradiation is standard care for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) (Gelbard et al. (2006) CHn. Cancer Res. 12:1897-1905). The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay described in the methods provided herein also can be used to assess the efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent in combination with one or more other chemotherapeutic agents, other substances or molecules, or other therapies. The one or more other chemotherapeutic agents, other substances or molecules, or other therapies can have an intended function as an anticancer treatment, or can have another intended function, such as another therapeutic. Assaying combination treatments using the methods described herein can be used to determine whether one more substances or therapies display added efficacy or benefit, or perhaps interfere with the action of the other, thereby reducing efficacy. a. Two or more chemotherapeutic agents

In one example, the sensitivity of a target cell to two or more chemotherapeutic agents can be determined using the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. Any two or more chemotherapeutic agents can be assayed. In one example, two or more chemotherapeutic agents from the same class of chemotherapeutic agents are assayed, such as two or more antimetabolites, or two or more alkylating agents, or two or more antitumor drugs. In another example, two or more chemotherapeutic agents are assayed that are from different classes of chemotherapeutic agents, such as one or more antitumor antibiotics and one or more antimetabolites, or one or more alkylating agents and one ore more antimitotic agents. Any combination of chemotherapeutic agents can be assessed for efficacy against a target cell in the methods provided herein if the biological effects on the cell can be determined using one or more reporter viruses. b. Chemotherapeutic agent with another molecule

One or more chemotherapeutic agents also can be assessed for efficacy against a target cell in combination with one or more other molecules. Any molecules can be used in combination with a chemotherapeutic agent in the methods provided herein. Cancer treatment sometimes include therapies that do not strictly fall into the category of chemotherapeutic agents. For example, several malignancies respond to hormonal therapy, steroid and retinoid treatment. One or more hormones, steroids, retinoids or other molecules can be used in combination with one or more chemotherapeutic agents in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. Immunomodulatory molecules, such as cytokines, and growth factors also can be assayed in combination with chemotherapeutic agents to determine their affect of a target cell. Cytokines and growth factors include, but are not limited to, interleukins, such as, for example, interleukin-1, interleukin-2, interleukin-6 and interleukin-12, tumor necrosis factors, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a), interferons such as interferon gamma (IFN-γ), granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factors (GM-CSF), angiogenins, and tissue factors. Other, signaling modulators that are anti-cancer or chemotherapeutic agents include but are not limited to, inhibitors of macrophage inhibitory factor, toll-like receptor agonists and stat 3 inhibitors.

One or more chemotherapeutic agents can also be assayed for efficacy in combination with one or more monoclonal antibodies. The monoclonal antibody can

be an anti-cancer antibody (e.g., Rituximab, ADEPT, Trastuzumab (Herceptin), Tositumomab (Bexxar), Cetuximab (Erbitux), Ibritumomab (Zevalin), Alemtuzumab (Campath-1H), Epratuzumab (Lymphocide), Gemtuzumab ozogamicin (Mylotarg), Bevacimab (Avastin), Tarceva (Erlotinib), SUTENT (sunitinib malate), Panorex (Edrecolomab), RITUXAN (Rituximab), Zevalin (90Y-ibritumomab tiuexetan), Mylotarg (Gemtuzumab Ozogamicin) and Campath (Alemtuzumab) or another antibody.

One or more chemotherapeutic agents can be assayed in combination with any other molecule, including, but are not limited to, nanoparticles, siRNA molecules, enzyme/pro-drug pairs, photosensitizing agents, toxins, a radionuclide, an angiogenesis inhibitor, an antitumor oligopeptide (e.g., antimitotic oligopeptides, such as, but not limited to, tubulysin, phomopsin, hemiasterlin, taltobulin (HTI-286, 3) and cryptophycin, and high affinity tumor-selective binding peptides) or a combination thereof. Exemplary photosensitizing agents include, but are not limited to, for example, indocyanine green, toluidine blue, aminolevulinic acid, texaphyrins, benzoporphyrins, phenothiazines, phthalocyanines, porphyrins such as sodium porfϊmer, chlorins such as tetra(m-hydroxyphenyl)chlorin or tin(IV) chlorin e6, purpurins such as tin ethyl etiopurpurin, purpurinimides, bacteriochlorins, pheophorbides, pyropheophorbides or cationic dyes. Radionuclides include, but are not limited to, a compound or molecule containing 32 Phosphate, 60 Cobalt, 90 Yttirum, "Technicium, 103 Palladium, 106 Ruthenium, '"indium, 117 Lutetium, 125 Iodine, 131 Iodine, 137 Cesium, 153 Samarium, 186 Rhenium, 188 Rhenium, 192 Iridium, 198 GoId, 211 Astatine, 212 Bismuth or 2I3 Bismuth. c. Chemotherapeutic agent with another anti-cancer therapy or chemosensitizing agent

Cancer treatments often combine different therapeutic agents and therapies.

For example, an anti-metabolite drug can be used in combination a plant alkaloid, or a cytotoxic drug can be used in combination with an immunomodulatory agent. In some examples, one or more chemotherapeutic agents are used in combination with another chemotherapy treatment that is not a drug. For example, gamma irradiation, photodynamic therapy and pulsating magnetic field treatment can be used in the treatment of cancer. The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be used to determine

the sensitivity of a target cell to one or more chemotherapeutic agents in combination with another chemotherapeutic therapy. Photodynamic therapy uses laser light to activate a photosensitizer that has been absorbed preferentially by cancer cells after administration. A phototoxic reaction ensues resulting in cell death and tissue necrosis. In some examples of the methods provided herein, the target cells can be exposed to one or more chemotherapeutic agents and one or more photosensitizers, and then irradiated with laser light. In other examples, cells exposed to one or more chemotherapeutics also can be exposed to gamma irradiation or pulsating magnetic field treatment.

In the methods provided herein, the chemotherapeutic agent can be administered with the combination therapy to the target cells simultaneously or at different times. For example, the combination therapy, such as radiation or a chemosensitizing agent, can be applied prior to the addition of the chemotherapeutic agent or at the same time as the chemotherapeutic agent. i. Radiation

In some examples, one or more chemotherapeutic agents is assayed in combination with radiation for efficacy against a target cell. Radiation therapy is commonly used to treat various forms of cancers, either alone or in combination with a chemotherapeutic agent. The wide use of radiation treatment stems from the ability of gamma-irradiation to induce irreversible damage in targeted cells with the preservation of normal tissue function. Apoptosis seems to be the principal mode by which cancer cells die following exposure to radiation, but necrosis also can occur (Rainaldi et al. (2003) Anticancer Res. 23 :2505-2518). Three main forms of radiotherapy are external beam radiotherapy (EBRT or XBRT) or teletherapy, brachytherapy or sealed source radiotherapy, and unsealed source radiotherapy. The differences relate to the position of the radiation source; external is outside the body, while sealed and unsealed source radiotherapy has radioactive material delivered internally. Brachytherapy is achieved by implanting radioactive material directly into the tumor or close to it in sealed sources, which are usually extracted later. Unsealed sources can be administered by injection or ingestion. Proton therapy is a special case of external beam radiotherapy where the particles are protons. The amount of radiation used in radiation therapy is measured in grays (Gy), and varies depending on

the type and stage of cancer being treated. For curative cases, the typical dose for a solid epithelial tumor ranges from 60 to 80 Gy, while lymphoma tumors are treated with 20 to 40 Gy. Preventative (adjuvant) doses are typically around 45 - 60 Gy, in 1.8 - 2 Gy. In some instances, a chemotherapeutic drug can act as a radio-sensitizing agent, making the target cell more sensitive to radiation therapy (Harrison et al. (2002) Oncologist 7:492-508).

The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be used to determine the sensitivity of a target cell to a combination of one or more chemotherapeutic agents and radiation. The cells can be exposed to radiation immediately before or after the chemotherapeutic agent is added, and an appropriate reporter virus can be used to detect the biological effect, such as for example, apoptosis, on the cell. ii. Chemosensitizing agents

In some examples, one or more chemotherapeutic agents are assayed in combination with a chemosensitizing agent. Chemosensitizing agents include compounds or treatments that are generally not cytotoxic, but can modify the subject or cancer cells to enhance anticancer therapy. Such compounds can render a cell or cell population sensitive to a chemotherapeutic agent. Exemplary chemosensitizing reagents include, but are not limited to, radiation, calcium channel blockers (e.g., verapamil), calmodulin inhibitors (e.g., trifluoperazine), indole alkaloids (e.g., reserpine), quinolines (e.g., quinine), lysosomotropic agents (e.g., chloroquine), steroids (e.g., progesterone), triparanol analogs (e.g., tamoxifen), detergents (e.g., cremophor EL), texaphyrins, and cyclic antibiotics (e.g., cyclosporine) (DeVita, V. T., et al. (1993) Cancer, Principles & Practice of Oncology 4 th ed., J. B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, Pa. 2661-2664; Sonneveld and Wiemer (1997) Current Opinion In Oncology 9(6):543-8).

Additional sensitizing agents known to increase the sensitivity of cells to cell death. Such sensitizing agents can be employed in the methods provided to sensitize a tumor cell to a chemotherapeutic agent. Examples of sensitizing agents include, but are not limited to, cytokines, interferons, growth factors, chemokines, chemotherapeutics, peptides, polypeptides, nucleic acid sensitizers such as antisense or ribozymes, gene-based sensitizers, such as dominant negative gene expression, lipids, lipopeptides, sterols and their biosynthetic precursors, polysaccharides,

lipopolysaccharides, phosphatase inhibitors, and kinase inhibitors. Further, environmental factors, such as temperature, pH, and the like can be sensitizing agents. Some exemplary sensitizing agents include interferon-γ, interferon-/?, phorbol 12- myristate 13-acetate, Bacterodes fragilis enterotoxins. E. Assay detection methods

Detection of the viral activity or property can be achieved using any method known in the art that is compatible with the viral activity or property being detected. In some examples, detection can be made by simple visualization. In other examples, detection can be facilitated by particular detection devices. The method of detection is dictated by the viral activity or property being measured. In some examples, detection can be effected immediately. For example, the level of expression of some reporter proteins, such as fluorescent and luminescent proteins, can be measured directly without further manipulation. In other examples, further manipulation is required to detect the viral activity or property. This can be as simple as adding a substrate to facilitate detection of the enzymatic activity of a reporter protein, or can require more in depth procedures, including, but not limited to, PCR, RT-PCR, quantitative FISH, immunoassays and plaque assays. Once a detectable product has been formed, the method of detection can include, but is not limited to, simple visualization, such as counting plaques or visualizing a color change, spectrophotometric, fluorometric or luminometric measurements, or digital imaging. In some examples, a reporter protein is detected by colorimetric, fluorometric or luminometric detections methods. In other examples, virions are detected visually, such as by plaque assay, or spectrophometrically by measuring the absorbance at, for example, 260 run. In some examples, nucleic acid is detected by staining with ethidium bromide and visualizing under ultraviolet light (UV), or by incorporation of a moiety that can be detected by colorimetric, fluorometric or luminometric methods. One of skill in the art can determine which method of detection to use based on the viral activity or property being detected. In some situations, more than one method can be used. For example, a virus can express a reporter protein that cleaves more than one substrate, the products of which can be detected by colorimetric, fluorescent or luminescent methods.

1. Detection of signals

A signal that is emitted from a detectable protein or detectable substrate can be in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Exemplary forms of electromagnetic radiation include X-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, infrared light, or microwaves. In some examples, electromagnetic radiation, such as a light signal is emitted that is used to detect the viral activity or property. Light signals can be a measure of the light absorbed by a product, such as a red product that absorbs blue, green and yellow light when viewed under white light, or a measure of the light emitted, such as the red light emitted by a fluorescent protein. The light signal can be generated directly by the viral activity or property that is being detected, such as by a fluorescent or luminescent reporter protein, or can be generated following further manipulation, such as the formation of colored, luminescent or fluorescent products from enzymatic reactions, the binding of an antibody or ligand that contains a fluorescent or luminescent moiety, or the binding of a colored, luminescent or fluorescent moiety to a protein, molecule or nucleic acid. Light signals can be detected by any method known in the art, and can include simple visualization by eye, or measurement using a device. Although rapid and inexpensive, simple visualization of the light signal, such as a colored end product of an enzymatic reaction, is typically not as accurate in determining the intensity of signal as when an appropriate device is utilized. In some cases however, visualization by eye can be sufficient to determine whether or not a viral activity or property is affected by target cell exposure to the chemotherapeutic agent, and therefore whether the target cell is sensitive to the chemotherapeutic agent.

More specialized light detection methods also can be used in the methods presented herein. In one example, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) protocols are used to quantify changes in a fluorescent signal that are associated with sensitivity of a target cell to a chemotherapeutic agent. FRET is a distance-dependent interaction between the electronic excited states of two dye molecules in which excitation is transferred from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule without emission of a photon. The donor and acceptor molecules must be in close proximity (typically 10-100 A), and the absorption spectrum of the acceptor must overlap the fluorescence emission spectrum of the donor. In standard FRET imaging, the donor fluorophore is excited with excitation light, and fluorescence emission of the donor and acceptor is measured. When two suitable fluorescent molecules are separated by

a sufficiently short distance, FRET will occur and observed emission at the wavelength corresponding to the donor will increase, due to transferred energy from the donor. When the molecules are separated further, FRET decreases, because the energy transferred from the donor is reduced (Zaccolo et al, (2004) Circ. Res. 94:866-873). For example, a reporter virus can be modified to express a fusion protein that contains a caspase target sequence, such as LEVD or DEVD, flanked by two fluorescent molecules, such as CFP and YFP. The uncleaved fusion protein results in intense FRET due to energy transfer from CFP to YFP when the CFP molecules are excited, but when caspases are activated in the target cell during apoptosis, the fusion protein is cleaved and the molecules are separated, so FRET diminishes (He et al, (2004) A m. J. Pathol. 164:1901-1913). A related method is called BRET, or bioluminescence resonance energy transfer. In BRET, the donor fiuorophore of the FRET technique is replaced by a luciferase. In the presence of a substrate, bioluminescence from the luciferase excites the acceptor fluorophore through the same energy transfer mechanisms as FRET. BRET also has been used to detect proteolytic events (Hu et al, (2005) J. Virol. Methods 128:93-103), and could be used in the methods herein to measure proteolytic events associated with sensitivity of a target cell to a chemotherapeutic agent. a. Devices

Many devices exist that can accurately determine the amount or intensity of light emitted (such as by a fluorescent or luminescent product) or absorbed (such as by a colored product), and can be used in the methods provided herein. In some cases, a knowledge of the wavelength of light that is absorbed, emitted or required for excitation, is required and will be understood by one of skill in the art. For example, a spectrophotometer can be used to measure the intensity of a soluble colored product. Spectrophotometers can accurately measure the optical density, which is a measure of the intensity of the soluble product at particular wavelengths, which depend on the color of the product to be detected. Spectrophotometers also can be used to measure the amount of nucleic acid in a solution by UV spectrometry. The measurement of chemiluminescence and bioluminescence can be effected by luminometers. The majority of these devices utilize photomultiplier tubes that detect light emitted from the reaction, with the light reaching the tube being proportional to the concentration of

the limiting reagent in the reaction. Luminometry provides a high signal-to-noise ratio and has high sensitivity. Fluorometers can be used to measure fluorescence. Fluorometers generate a specified wavelength of light to excite the compound of interest and monitor the intensity of light emitted at a specified emission wavelength, with the emitted light proportional to the concentration of the compound. Most fluorometers utilize monochromators or filters to select wavelengths. A filter fluorometer is a type of fluorometer that can be employed in fluorescence spectroscopy. There are two filters for the fluorometer; the primary filter or excitation filter or incident light filter that isolates the wavelength that will cause the compound to fluoresce (the incident light); and the secondary filter that isolates the desired emitted light (fluorescent light). Spectrophotometers, luminometers and fluorometers are manufactured such that they are amenable to a variety of sample formats and increasing throughput, specialized devices with temperature control, automation options, and various software programs for specific applications and calculations. Other devices also can be used to detect light signals, some of which have spectrophotometers, luminometers or fluorometers incorporated into them. Microscopes can be used to detect and quantitate fluorescent, luminescent and colored cells, such as ones "stained" with an anti-virus antibody, or following fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Flow cytometers also can detect and quantify cells that are "stained", such as with a fluorescent antibody, and can be used to intracellular viral nucleic acid and antigens, and viral antigens that are expressed on the cell surface (McShaπy et al. (1994) CHn. Micro. Rev. 7:576-604). Flow cytometers and fluorescent microscopes also can be used to detect changes in FRET (Luo et al. (2003) Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm. 304:217 -222, He et al. (2004) Am. J. Pathol. 164:1901-1913). Devices also have been developed to quantify nucleic acid. For example, real-time PCR can be performed using machines such as the LightCycler® System (Roche, Mannheim, Germany) which quantitate nucleic acid levels by measuring release of fluorescent probes following extension of the PCR product. Digital imaging also can be used to detect various light signals, including but not limited to, fluorescence and luminescence (Abriola et al. (1999) J. Biomol. Screening 3:121-127).

In some examples, the devices employed to quantitate signals from the assay, also can be used to store data from one or more assays. In some examples, the devices also can perform comparative analysis of data among samples within an assay or among samples from two or more assays.

2. Administration of a substrate molecule

In some examples, the virus used in the chemotherapeutic assay expresses a protein that can catalyze a detectable reaction which results in a visible change in the cells or their environment upon addition of the appropriate substrate. For example, the E. coli proteins /3-galactosidase and β-glucuronidase hydrolyze a variety of substrates that form products that can be detected by spectrophotometry, fiuorometry, or by chemiluminescence. In some examples therefore, a substrate is added to the media in which the infected target cells are maintained at the end of the assay and prior to detection. The substrate can be any substrate that is cleaved by the reporter protein, and can be one that results in products that are detectable by spectrophotometry, fiuorometry, or by chemiluminescence. One of skill in the art can readily determine what substrates can be cleaved by a reporter protein. The appropriate amount of substrate, and the incubation time and conditions prior to detection, also can be readily determined by one of skill in the art. Typically, such details are specified by the manufacturer of the substrate.

3. Immunodetection

In some examples, the detection of the viral activity or property in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay is effected by immunodetection. Immunodetection includes any method that utilizes the binding of an antibody or other ligand to an antigen to detect the presence of the antigen, and includes, but is not limited to, εLISA, εLISPOT, radioimmunoassy (RAI), immunoblotting (e.g., Western blot, dot blot), immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence and flow cytometry with fluorescently tagged antibodies or ligands. The steps of various immunodetection methods have been described and are known in the art. In general, the immunodetection methods that can be used herein include obtaining a sample containing the viral protein, polypeptide and/or peptide, and contacting the sample with a first antibody, monoclonal or polyclonal, under conditions effective to allow the formation of immunocomplexes. The methods include detection and/or

quantifi cation of the amount of immune complexes formed under the specific conditions. The sample can be taken directly from the cell culture supernatant, or can be from a cell lysate or separated or purified portions of the cell, or can be the infected cell itself. In some examples, the first antibody is tagged with a detectable moiety, such as a fluorescent tag, or peroxidase moiety, and can be detected directly. In other examples, a secondary antibody that is tagged with a detectable moiety is added to the immunocomplex.

Contacting the chosen sample with the first antibody under conditions that allow the formation of immune complexes (primary immune complexes) is generally accomplished by adding the composition to the sample and incubating the mixture for a period of time long enough for the antibodies to form immune complexes with any antigens present. After this time, the material containing the sample-antibody composition, such as an ELISA plate, ELISPOT plate, dot blot or Western blot, will generally be washed to remove any non-specifically bound antibody species, allowing only those antibodies specifically bound within the primary immune complexes to be detected.

The first antibody or ligand employed in the detection can itself be linked to a detectable label, such that direct detection of the label facilitates quantification of the amount of the primary immune complexes in the sample. Alternatively, the first added antibody or ligand that becomes bound within the primary immune complexes can be detected by means of a second binding ligand that has binding affinity for the first antibody or ligand. In such cases, the second binding ligand can be linked to a detectable label. The second binding ligand is itself often an antibody, which can be termed a "secondary" antibody. The primary immune complexes are contacted with the labeled, secondary binding ligand, or antibody, under conditions suitable for the formation of secondary immune complexes. The secondary immune complexes are then typically washed to remove any non-specifically bound labeled secondary antibodies or ligands, and the remaining label in the secondary immune complexes is then detected.

Further methods include the detection of primary immune complexes by a two step approach. A second binding ligand, such as an antibody, that has binding affinity to the first antibody is used to form secondary immune complexes, as described

-I l l- above. After washing, the secondary immune complexes are contacted with a third binding ligand or antibody that has binding affinity for the second antibody or ligand, again under conditions appropriate for the formation of immune complexes (tertiary immune complexes). The third ligand or antibody is linked to a detectable label, allowing detection of the tertiary immune complexes thus formed. This system can provide for signal amplification.

In general, the detection of immunocomplex formation is well known in the art and can be achieved through the application of numerous approaches. These methods are generally based upon the detection of a label or marker, such as any radioactive, fluorescent, biological or enzymatic tags or labels of standard use in the art. U.S. Patents concerning the use of such labels include U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,817,837; 3,850, 752; 3,939,350, 3,996,345, 4,277,437; 4,275,149 and 4,366,241. In some examples, a secondary binding ligand such as a second antibody or a biotin/avidin ligand binding arrangement, is used, as is known in the art. F. Methods for validation of assay results

The validation of an assay and its results is a measure of two general features: reliability and relevance. Assay validation is performed following the development of an assay, and analyzes a variety of characteristics, including specificity, precision, detection limits, limits of quantitation, linearity, range, reproducibility, ruggedness, and robustness (Smith et al. (2000) J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 21 :1249-1273). Even after the assay itself has been validated, the results of individual assays also can be validated to confirm the accuracy and reliability of the results. Various methods can be utilized for this purpose, including but not limited to, internal controls, repetition of the assay or duplication of samples, and additional assays or analyses. Any method of validation can optionally be used in conjunction with the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. In some examples, more than one method of validation is used. The validation methods can be designed to assay different parameters of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. In one example, an internal control is designed to assay for virus infectivity. This type of control is a measure of data reliability, and can provide information regarding consistency of infection of all of the target cell samples by the reporter virus. Additionally, such a control can help ensure, for example, that any observed reduction in the level of a viral property or activity is a result of an

inhibition by the chemotherapeutic agent, and not a reflection of a reduced level of initial infection. Other methods that can increase confidence in the reliability and accuracy of the observed results can include duplication of assay samples, and/or the duplication of the assay itself, such that reproducibility of the results can be confirmed. Titrations of the concentration of chemotherapeutic agent also can partially validate results if an expected dose response is observed.

Other validation methods can be utilized to assay the accuracy of the results obtained using the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. For example, a secondary assay that is designed to also measure the effect of the chemotherapeutic agent on the target cell can be used. Obtaining comparable results using the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay and an appropriate secondary assay can validate the results, and confirm not only that the observed affect on cell function is a result of the chemotherapeutic agent, but that the observed level of inhibition is accurate. In some examples, the validation methods also can be used to confirm positive results i.e., that a target cell population is indeed sensitive to a given chemotherapeutic agent, or a given combination treatment. Such confirmation can, for example, provide added confidence when using the results to individualize treatment regimes for a patient. The following section describes exemplary methods that can be utilized to validate one or more aspects of the results obtained in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay.

1. Internal control

In some examples, an internal control is included in the design of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. An internal control that reflects one or more viral properties, or one or more cellular properties, can be included. In some examples, the internal control is introduced by way of modification of the assay conditions, such as the inclusion or exclusion of a component of the assay. For example, a control in which target cells are infected with the reporter virus and subsequently cultured in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent before the viral property or activity is detected can be included in the assay. This can be considered a negative control for the effects of the chemotherapeutic agent and serves two functions. Firstly, to permit ascribing a relationship between treatment with the chemotherapeutic agent and any observed changes in the target cells that follows treatment. Secondly, to serve as a basis for quantitative estimation of the effects of the chemotherapeutic agent in excess of those

effects observed in the absence of the chemotherapeutic agent, such that a relative value of efficacy can be determined. In some examples, another control is included in which cells are cultured without infection with the reporter virus or exposure to the chemotherapeutic agent. This control can provide basis for the supposition that the observed changes in the target cells are a result of exposure to the chemotherapeutic agent, and are not associated with infection with the reporter virus.

Other internal controls include, but are not limited to, those that provide information regarding the level of infection of the target cells by the reporter virus. Confirmation that the reporter virus was able to enter the target cell is important in analysis of the results of the assay, and enables the assumption that any observed absence of viral activities or properties is attributable to the chemotherapeutic agent, and not because an initial infection was not established. Furthermore, it is useful to confirm that the level of infection of a target cell population is consistent so that any differences in the observed level of viral activities or properties between, for example, a negative control and cells exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent, or cells exposed to different amounts of a chemotherapeutic agent, can be ascribed to the chemotherapeutic agent. This can be achieved, for example, by employing a reporter virus that expresses two reporter proteins under the control of two different promoters, one of which is sensitive to the chemotherapeutic agent and can be used to determine efficacy, the other insensitive, which can be used as a control to determine infectivity. In one example, a vaccinia virus can express /3-glucuronidase from a vaccinia late promoter. Gene expression from the late promoters is initiated at the onset of DNA replication, which is an indicator of the metabolic activity of the host cell. /3-glucuronidase expression can therefore be used to determine the efficacy of, for example, and anti-metabolite chemotherapeutic agent, such as Ara-C. The vaccinia virus also can expresses /3-galactosidase from an early vaccinia promoter, such as the vaccinia P 7 5 early/late promoter, which initiates expression immediately upon infection and is not reliant upon host cell metabolic activity. Expression of β- galactosidase from virally infected cells can therefore be assessed to determine the relative level of initial viral infection of the cells. One of skill in the art can readily determine the sensitivity of a viral promoter to treatment with a chemotherapeutic

agent using the methods provided herein. Use of a particular promoter as an internal control can thus be assessed for particular chemotherapeutic agents.

In the absence of an appropriate internal control for a particular chemotherapeutic agent, infectivity can simply be assessed in comparison to infected cells that are not treated with the chemotherapeutic agent or can be compared to other treatments, such as Ara-C, as described herein.

In another example, a reporter virus that displays more than one property that can be readily assayed as a measure of sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent can be used. The two or more suitable properties or activities can be assessed in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay to confirm that they are similarly affected by the chemotherapeutic agent, thereby increasing confidence in the observed results.

2. Secondary assays

In some examples, the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be validated using a secondary assay. The secondary assays can include any that assess one or more appropriate parameters of the health of a target cell, including, but not limited to, proliferation, viability, metabolism, specific signaling events and specific gene expression. Most of these assays can be performed using the same assay format as that employed for the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, and so can be easily performed in conjunction with the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. The target cells can be harvested and cultured and exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent under the same conditions as the chemotherapeutic assay but without addition of the reporter virus, and then assessed using one or more secondary assays. In some examples, the secondary assays are fluorescent, luminescent, and colorimetric assays that can determine cell count, detect DNA synthesis, DNA destruction, or measure metabolic activity. Some of these assays require cell lysis or disrupt DNA duplication events, whereas others are nondestructive and allow for multiplexing and simultaneous or sequential combinations of biomarker detection assays to be performed on the same cell population. In some examples, the secondary assay can be one that has been developed for assessing the sensitivity of host cells, including but not limited to, the DiSC assay method (Wilbur et al. (1992) Br J Cancer 65:27-32), the MTT (methyl- thiazol-tetrazolium) assay (Elgie et al. (1996) LeukRes. 20:407-413, Xu et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 53:77-85), the ATP assay (Sharma et al (2003) BMC Cancer 3:19-

29), fluorescein diacetate assay, the HTCA (human tumor cloning assay) assay, the CCS (capillary cloning system) assay, the EDR assay, (Kern et al. (1985) Cancer Res. 45:5436-5441) and any other assay that measures or predicts chemotherapeutic efficacy described in the art.

The secondary assays that can be used herein can measure cytotoxicity, such as by measuring metabolic activity, loss of cell membrane integrity or counting the number of viable and dead cells. In other examples, cell proliferation can be measured, such as by tritiated thymidine uptake, or BrdU incorporation. The induction of apoptosis also can be assessed, such as by the TUNEL assay. Terminal transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) is a common method for detecting DNA fragmentation that results from apoptotic signaling cascades. The assay relies on the presence of nicks in the DNA which can be identified by terminal transferase, an enzyme that will catalyze the addition of dUTPs that are secondarily labeled with a marker (Gavrieli et α/. (1992) J. Cell. Biol. 119(3):493-501). In other examples, apoptotic cells can be stained with annexin V conjugates that bind to phosphatidylserine (PS), which is translocated from the inner to the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane during apoptosis. Assays that measure telomerase activity or telomere length of target cells following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent can be used to measure mitotic activity, and to validate some chemotherapeutic efficacy assays (Kiyozuka (2005) Methods MoI. Med. 111 :97-l 08).

The suitability of a particular assay for use in validation is dependent upon the specific biological function(s) that the assay is measuring, and whether these also are functions that are initiated in the target cells upon exposure to the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. For example, a secondary assay that measures the level of apoptosis in a cell, can only be used to validate results from a chemotherapeutic efficacy assay in which the chemotherapeutic agent causes apoptosis, and cannot be used to validate results from a chemotherapeutic efficacy assay in which the chemotherapeutic agent does not cause apoptosis, or causes apoptosis through a mechanism distinct from the one assayed for in the secondary assay. For example, some chemotherapeutic agents can cause cell death via necrosis in tumor cells. A secondary assay that measures apoptosis could not, therefore, be used to validate a chemotherapeutic efficacy assay that found decreased levels of DNA replication in cells that were dying by necrosis.

However, a secondary assay that determines cell viability could be used to validate the results of this chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. One of skill in the art can readily determine the suitability of a potential validation method based on the proposed mechanism of action of the chemotherapeutic agent being assayed. In the event that the mechanism of action is not known, more than one validation can optionally be employed. Alternatively, a validation method that measures a very broad parameter, such as cell viability, can be employed. a. Cytotoxicity assays

In some examples, the secondary assay used to validate the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay is a cytotoxicity assay. There are three basic parameters upon which cytotoxicity measurements are generally based. The first assay type is the measurement of cellular metabolic activity. An early indication of cellular damage is a reduction in metabolic activity. Assays which can measure metabolic function include those that measure cellular ATP levels or mitochondrial activity. Another parameter often assayed is the measurement of membrane integrity. The cell membrane forms a functional barrier around the cell, and traffic into and out of the cell is highly regulated by transporters, receptors and secretion pathways. When cells are damaged, they become 'leaky' and this forms the basis for the second type of assay. Membrane integrity is determined by measuring products in the extracellular medium that are normally retained intracellularly. Other assays measure the uptake of molecules such as dyes that are normally excluded from intact cells. The third type of assay is the direct measure of cell number, since dead cells normally detach from a culture plate, and are washed away in the medium. Cell number can be measured by direct cell counting, or by the measurement of total cell protein or DNA, which are proportional to the number of cells.

Exemplary assays that measure cellular metabolic activity include, but are not limited to, those that assess cleavage of a substrate by mitochondrial enzymes. The substrate is typically added to the media of the cells and the cells are grown for a period of time, such as 48, 72, or 96 hours. Cleavage of the substrate by mitochondrial dehydrogenases, for example, can be quantitated by the formation of a colored formazan dye. An increase or decrease in metabolically active cells, such as by cell proliferation, results in a concomitant change in the amount of formazan

formed, indicating the degree of cytotoxicity caused by the chemotherapeutic agent. In one example, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) is used as the substrate and spectrophotometric measurement of MTT-formazan at 540 or 570 run facilitates quantitation of cell viability. In another example, the sodium salt of (2,3-bis[2-methoxy-4-nitro-5-sulfophenyl]-2H-tetrazolium-5- carboxanilide inner salt) or XTT, is the substrate. Mitochondrial dehydrogenases of viable cells cleave the tetrazolium ring of XTT yielding orange formazan crystals which are soluble in aqueous solutions. The resulting orange solution is spectrophotometrically measured at 440 nm . The bioreduction of XTT is inefficient but can be potentiated by the addition of an electron coupling agent such as phenazine methosulfate (PMS) to the reaction. Another substrate that can be used to measure mitochondrial dehydrogenase activity is the tetrazolium salt WST-I, which produces a water soluble red formazan dye upon reduction that can be spectrophotometrically measured at 440 nm. In another example, MTS (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3- carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulphophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt) is used as a substrate (Buttke et. al (1993) J. Immunol. Methods, 157: 233-240.

The presence of adenosine 5 '-triphosphate (ATP) is a useful marker of metabolic activity. Various quantitative methods have been developed for detecting ATP that is released during cell secretion or lysis, can be used herein as a secondary assay to validate the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. In some examples, a luciferin-luciferase bioluminescence assay is used. This assay is based on luciferase's requirement for ATP to produce light. In the presence of ATP, Mg 2+ and O 2 , luciferase catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin with concomitant emission of a yellow-green light that can be measured with a luminometer at 560 nm (Crouch et al. (1993) J. Immunol. Methods 160:81 -88).

Nonfluorescent resazurin, which can be reduced by viable cells by chemical reduction to red-fluorescent resorufin, also can be used to detect the metabolic activity of a cell population (U.S. Pat. No. 5,501,959). Continued cell growth maintains a reduced environment while inhibition of growth, such as by exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, maintains an oxidized environment. Cell growth-related reduction of resazurin to resorufin can be detected either by colorimetry or by fluorimetry. Resazurin is deeply blue in color and is essentially non-fluorescent,

depending upon its level of purity. Resorufin, the reduced form of resazurin, is red and very fluorescent. When using colorimetry, resorufin production is measured at approximately 570 nm. Fluorescence measurements of resorufin are made by exciting at wavelengths of approximately 530 to 560 nm, and measuring the emission at about 590 nm.

Non-viable cells that have lost membrane integrity leak cytoplasmic components into the surrounding medium. Cell death thus can be measured by monitoring the concentration of these cellular components in the surrounding medium. For example, the presence of intracellular enzymes such as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), adenylate kinase (AK), or glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) in the culture supernatant can be detected and quantitated using a variety of fluorescent, luminescent, and colorimetric assays. In one example, the release of glyceraldehyde-3 -phosphate dehydrogenase (G3PDH) from dead or damaged cells is measured by coupling the activity of the released G3PDH to the production of ATP (Corey et al. (1997) J. Immunol. Meth. 207:43-51). In another example, the levels of LDH in the culture medium are assessed. For example, a colorimetric assay that measures LDH activity in the culture medium using a coupled two-step reaction can be used. In the first step, LDH catalyzes the reduction of NAD+ to NADH by oxidation of lactate to pyruvate. In the second step of the reaction, diaphorase uses the newly- formed NADH to catalyze the reduction of a tetrazolium salt (INT) to colored formazan which is water-soluble and absorbs strongly at 490-520 nm (More et al. (1995) Tohoku J. Exp. Med. IT/ r :315-325). LDH levels also can be assessed by measuring the reduction by diaphorase of resazurin into resorufin. Similar assays that measure the release of intracellular products to determine cell viability involve preloading of cells with either a radioactive substance, such as 51 Cr, or a non-radioactive substance, such as an ester that is cleaved to a non-membrane-permeable product. The amount of loaded substance that is released into the supernatant upon loss of membrane integrity can be determined.

Various dyes can differentially stain live and dead cells, and can be used in the methods herein to validate the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. Historically, trypan blue was used to stain and identify dead cells on the basis of increased cell membrane permeability. Various other methods have since been

developed and also can be used herein. In one example, fluorescent probes such as calcein AM and ethidium homodimer-1 (EthD-1) are used. Live cells are distinguished by the presence of ubiquitous intracellular esterase activity, determined by the enzymatic conversion of the virtually nonfluorescent cell-permeant calcein AM to the intensely fluorescent calcein. The polyanionic calcein dye is well retained within live cells, producing an intense uniform green fluorescence (excitation/emission at approximately 495 nm/515 nm). EthD-1 enters cells with damaged membranes and undergoes a 40-fold enhancement of fluorescence upon binding to nucleic acids, thereby producing a bright red fluorescence in dead cells (excitation/emission at approximately 495 nm/635 nm). EthD-1 is excluded by the intact plasma membrane of live cells. In another example, propidium iodide (PI) is used to identify dead cells. PI binds to DNA by intercalating between the bases with little or no sequence preference. Once the dye is bound to nucleic acids, its fluorescence is enhanced 20- to 30-fold, the fluorescence excitation maximum is shifted approximately 30^40 nm to the red and the fluorescence emission maximum is shifted approximately 15 nm to the blue. PI is membrane impermeant and generally excluded from viable cells, and can thus be used to identify dead cells in a population. In some examples, it is used in conjunction with a cell permeable dye that can counterstain live cells. Other probes and dyes that can differentiate between live and dead cells are known in the art and can be used herein (see e.g., The Handbook: A Guide to Fluorescent Probes and Labeling Technologies. 10 th Ed. Section 15.2). b. Measurement of target cell gene expression

Measurement of the level of expression of particular genes from the target cell also can be used to validate the results of the chemotherapeutic assay. In some examples, the target cell gene is expressed if the target cell remains viable and metabolically active. In other examples, the target cell gene is expressed when cell damage occurs. In one example, the target cell gene is expressed when processes related to apoptosis or necrosis are initiated. Target cell gene expression can be detected and measured by any method known in the art, including but not limited to, quantitative PCR, FISH, immunodetection of the encoded protein and enzymatic detection of the encoded protein.

In some examples, target cell genes that are markers for cell proliferation can be detected. For example, the cdcό protein functions during eukaryotic replication initiation and is essential for DNA synthesis. This 30,000-dalton protein exhibits DNA-binding properties and is thought to be involved in the assembly of minichromosome maintenance proteins onto replicating DNA. Cdcό is a nuclear protein that is expressed only in actively replicating cells, making it a suitable marker for cell proliferation. Quiescent cells in GO do not express the protein. The expression of cdcό can be detected using any method known in the art to assess cell proliferation following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent. In one example, immunodetection methods are used to quantitate cdcό expression (Freeman et al. (1999) Clin Cancer Res 5: 2121-2132). In another example, the expression of D cyclins (1, 2 or 3) is assessed as a measure of cell proliferation. These molecules play an important role in regulatory processes controlling the progression of the cell cycle, and are active during proliferation. Overexpression of these regulatory proteins is associated with a wide variety of proliferative diseases including breast and gastric cancers (Bartkova et al. (1994) Int. J. Cancer 57:353-361, Keyomarsi et al. (1993) PNAS 90:1112-1116). i. Cell death sensitive genes

Target cell genes that are expressed during the processes associated with cell death can be measured to validate the results obtained in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. In some examples, genes that are expressed during apoptosis are measured to confirm that a target cell is sensitive to a chemotherapeutic agent. Many chemotherapeutic agents effect tumor cell killing in vitro and in vivo through initiating the mechanisms of apoptosis, including, but not limited to, etoposide, teniposide, amsacrine, dexamethasone, vincristine, cis-platinum, cyclophosphamide, paclitaxel, 5'-fluoro-deoxyuridine, 5'-fluorouracil, Ara-C, bleomycin, actinomycin, and adriamycin (Hannun et al. (1997) Blood 89:1845-1853). Two major apoptosis pathways have thus far been elucidated; a caspase 9-mediated pathway and a caspase 8-mediated pathway. The cascade led by caspase-8 is involved in death-receptor- mediated apoptosis such as the one triggered by Fas, TNF, and TRAIL. The caspase 9-mediated pathway is thought to mediate chemical-induced apoptosis following DNA damage. Chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to be capable of inducing

apoptosis through both mechanisms (Hannun et al. (1997) Blood 89:1845-1853, Sun et al. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 21 A: 5053-5060, Ferreira et al. (2000) Cancer Research 60:7133-7141). Both pathways, however, lead to the activation of one or more of the effector caspases; caspase-3, caspase-6 and caspase-7. Expression or activity of the effector caspases can be measured to confirm that a chemotherapeutic agent induces apoptosis in a target cell, hi some examples, the level of expression of the effector caspases are measured, such as by immunodetection, or by binding with labeled caspase inhibitors. In other examples, the activity of the caspases are determined by measuring cleavage of a substrate. For example, a caspase-3 substrate such as Z- DEVD-AFC, which contains containing the caspase-3 recognition site Asp-Glu-Val- Asp (DEVD), undergoes an approximate 65 ran red-shift to exhibit a peak emission of approximately 500 ran upon cleavage. Addition of this substrate to the cell culture media can facilitate quantitation by fluorescence of the number of apoptotic cells in a population (Liu et al. (1999). Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 9:3231-3236, Hug et α/. (1999) Biochemistry 38:13906-13911). Other caspases and other genes and proteins known in the art also can be used as indicators of cell death, and can be utilized in the methods provided herein to validate the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay.

3. Multiple replicates

Confidence in the reliability of the results obtained using the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be increased by assaying multiple replicates of the target cell population. Multiple replicates can provide information regarding intra-assay reproducibility, reliability and precision. Statistical analyses can be performed to determine, for example, the mean or median results, and confidence intervals. The larger the number of replicates measured during the experiment, the greater the precision of the reported results. The results of such analysis can be reviewed for the presence of outliers, which can distort estimates of the average and the standard deviation. Since outliers cannot be defined arbitrarily, they can be assessed using methods known in the art, such as Tukey's rule. Any number of replicates can be included in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, including but not limited to, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or more.

4. Dose curve of chemotherapeutic drug(s)

In some examples, the chemotherapeutic assay employs a variety of concentrations of the chemotherapeutic agent for assaying efficacy, such that a dose response curve can be generated. Chemotherapeutic agents typically affect sensitive cells is a dose-dependent manner, such that a higher concentrations of chemotherapeutic agent results in an increase in the number of cells being affected. The dose response curve plots the concentration of the chemotherapeutic agent against the response being measured, which can include for example, cell viability or expression of a reporter protein. Dose-response curves can have almost any shape, and can differ between target cells and chemotherapeutic agents. In some situations, the dose curve can be steep, while in others it can be a shallow gradient. Some produce a very linear curve, although typically a plateau is reached at the highest doses. In some instances, there is a threshold dose: a dose below which there is no effect. Plotting a dose response curve can serve as an intra-assay validation of the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay, confirming that an increase in chemotherapeutic dose results in an increase in response. Dose response curves for a particular target cell population and a particular chemotherapeutic agent also can be established, and used for comparison in duplicate assays.

5. Confirmation of positives

When a chemotherapeutic agent has been shown to be effective against a target cell population, in some examples further confirmation of the results is desirable. Such confirmation can, for example, help design an effective chemotherapy treatment regime for a patient. Any suitable method known in the art can be used to confirm the results of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay. Confirmation can be performed using cells from the same sample of the target cells as previously used, such as the same biopsy, or can be from a different sample of the target cells, such as a different biopsy of the same patient. In some examples, the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be repeated again, or more than once, to confirm the results. In other examples, a different method can be used to confirm the observed efficacy of the chemotherapeutic agent. Exemplary methods that can be used include, but are not limited to, the DiSC assay method (Wilbur et al. (1992) Br J Cancer 65:27-32), the MTT (methyl-thiazol-tetrazolium) assay (Elgie et al. (1996) LeukRes. 20:407-413, Xu et al. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 53:77-85), the ATP assay (Sharma et

al. (2003) BMC Cancer 3:19-29), fluorescein diacetate assay, the HTCA (human tumor cloning assay) assay, the CCS (capillary cloning system) assay, the EDR assay, (Kern et al. (1985) Cancer Res. 45:5436-5441) and any other assay that measures or predicts sensitivity of cells to a chemotherapeutic agent. In some examples, assays that were described above for use as secondary assays, or other similar assays, can be used to confirm the observed efficacy of a chemotherapeutic agent against a target cell population. G. Methods for high-throughput screening of chemotherapeutic agents

Methods provided herein can be adapted for automated methods and high- throughput screening. High-throughput screening (HTS) refers to the rapid in vitro screening of large numbers of compounds, such as chemotherapeutic agents or compounds that can potentially be chemotherapeutic agents. Data from high- throughput screening can be used to rank large numbers of chemotherapeutic agents or combinations of chemotherapeutic agents in order of efficacy for an individual subject or against particular cancer types. HTS typically uses automated assays in which tens to hundreds to thousands of compounds can be screened for a desired activity using robotic screening assays and automated analysis of results. Ultra high- throughput Screening (uHTS) generally refers to the high-throughput screening accelerated to greater than 100,000 assays per day. Several methods of automated assays have been developed in recent years so as to permit screening of tens of thousands of compounds in a short period of time (see, e.g., U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,303, 322, 5,585,277, 5,679,582, and 6,020,141). Screening methods can be performed, for example, using a standard microplate well format (e.g., 96, 384, or 1536-well microtiter plates) with target cells in each well of the microplate. This format permits screening assays to be automated using standard microplate procedures and microplate readers to detect inhibition cell proliferation. A microplate reader includes any device that is able to read a signal from a microplate, including fluorimetry, luminometry, or spectrophotometry in either endpoint or kinetic assays. Using such techniques, the effect of a large number of chemotherapeutic agents on a specific target cell population, or the effect of a particular compound on a large number of target cell populations, can be determined rapidly. Any method known in the art for HTS using a cell-based assay format can be used in the methods described herein.

(Jayawickreme et al. (1997) Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 8:629-634, Houston et al. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 8:734-740, Vassilev et al. (2001) Anticancer Drug Des. 16:7-17, Puig-Basagoiti et al. (2005,) Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 49:4980-8, Yip et al. (2006) Clin Cancer Res.12:5557-69. Kim. et al. (2007) Gastroenterology. 132:311- 20, Ruocco et al. (2007; J Biomol Screen.\2λ33-9).

An advantage of the cell-based microtiter plate HTS methods is that target cells, chemotherapeutic agents, reporter viruses and other assay reagents can be conserved due to the smaller volumes required. High throughput screening methods can be used with the cell-based chemotherapeutic efficacy assay using fluorescence, luminescence, fluorescence polarization, time-resolved fluorescence, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), scintillation proximity assays, and spectrophotometric assays. In the case of fluorescence reporters, multi-channel plate readers have the ability to quantitatively detect multiple reporter signals that have different excitation wavelengths in a single cell population, further increasing the efficiency of the drug screening process.

Sample handling and detection procedures can be automated using commercially available instrumentation and software systems for rapid and reproducible application of samples such as chemotherapeutic agents, reporter viruses, substrates, antibodies and ligands, fluid changing, and automated detection and analysis. To increase the throughput of a compound administration, currently available robotic systems (e.g. , the BioRobot 9600 from Qiagen, the Zymate from Zymark or the Biomek from Beckman Instruments), most of which use the multi-well culture plate format, can be used. Incorporation of commercially available fluid handling instrumentation significantly reduces the time frame of manual screening procedures and permits efficient analysis of many compounds, including chemotherapeutic agents.

In addition, high throughput screening systems are commercially available (see, e.g., Zymark Corp., Hopkinton, Mass; Air Technical Industries, Mentor, Ohio; Beckman Instruments, Inc. Fullerton, Calif; Precision Systems, Inc., Natick, Mass., etc.). These systems typically automate entire procedures, including all sample and reagent pipetting, liquid dispensing, timed incubations, and final readings of the microplate in detector(s) appropriate for the assay. These configurable systems

provide high throughput and rapid start up as well as a high degree of flexibility and customization. The manufacturers of such systems provide detailed protocols for various high throughput systems. The high throughput methods also can contain software to facilitate the high throughput reading and storage of data in the form of images and measurements, such as the relative expression levels of a fluorescent, luminescent or colored protein or product from the cells.

High throughput assays for the presence, absence, or quantification of particular nucleic acids or protein products are well known to those of skill in the art. Binding assays similarly are well known. Thus, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,559,410 discloses high throughput screening methods for proteins, U.S. Pat. No. 5,585,639 discloses high throughput screening methods for nucleic acid binding (i.e., in arrays), while U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,576,220 and 5,541,061 disclose high throughput methods of screening for ligand/antibody binding. H. Modification of assay conditions

The conditions under which the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay is performed are selected according to the type of tumor cell, the reporter virus, and the detection method, and can be readily determined and modified by one of skill in the art. Specific parameters can be optimized, for example, for a particular reporter virus, for a cell population, or for the chemotherapeutic agent. For example, the concentration of the target cells, or the conditions under which the cells are prepared and cultured, can be modified. The concentration of the virus used in the assay also can modified. Typically, a range of concentrations of the chemotherapeutic agent are assayed, such that a dose response curve can be generated. The range of appropriate concentrations at which the chemotherapeutic agent is added are selected according to the agent, and will be known to those of skill in the art. hi one example, a chemotherapeutic agent is assessed in 10-fold dilutions at a final concentration of InM, 1OnM, 10OnM, lμM, 10 μM, 100 μM or ImM. In other examples, 2-fold, 3-fold or 5-fold dilutions of a chemotherapeutic agent are prepared and assayed for efficacy. A range anticipated to produce no response, a maximal response, and degrees of responses in between is useful in the methods provided herein. The time for which the target cells are exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent also can be varied according to the particular application, as can the methods of detection.

1. Preparation and concentration of target cells

The preparation and concentration of the target cells can be modified to optimize the conditions for a particular cell population. Typical culture media and protocols well known in the art can be employed to begin with (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 4,423,145, 5,605,822, 6,261,795, and Culture of Human Tumor Cells. (2004) Eds. Pfragner and Freshney), and subsequent modifications can then be made to optimize the conditions if necessary. Various components of the culture media can be modified to optimize the growth conditions, such as changing the basic culture media (e.g., RPMI, DMEM etc.), supplements and additives. For example, the amount of serum in the culture media can be modified to alter the growth kinetics of the cells. In some examples, culture methods can be employed that are designed to inhibit the growth of non-tumor cells, such as fibroblasts. For example, the tumor cells can be maintained in culture as multicellular particulates until a monolayer is established (U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,415), or the cells can be cultured in plates containing two layers of different percentage agar (U.S. Pat. No. 6,261 ,705). The purity of the target cell population also can be modified using standard techniques, such as treatment with a solution containingl 50 mM NH 4 Cl and 10 mM NaHCO 3 to lyse erythrocytes, or subjection to a lymphocyte separation treatment, such as a Ficoll-Isopaque density gradient, to purify leukocytes and enrich tumor cells (Guzman et al, (2001) Blood 98:2301-2307). In other examples, the tumor cells can be separated from non-tumors cells, such as by FACS sorting using antibodies against known tumor antigens, immunomagnetic separation, and density centrifugation. One of skill in the art can readily modify various parameters associated with target cell culture to optimize conditions for a particular cell population. Preliminary studies also can be performed to determine optimal growth conditions, by culturing the cells in various media under various conditions and observing growth.

The concentration of cells used in the initial set up of the assay also can be modified, and can take into account the size of the target cells, the growth rate, and the amount of time that the cells will be grown during the assay. For example, cells that are large in size can be seeded into an assay format, such as a 96-well plate, at a lower concentration than cells that are half the size to achieve the same desired confluency. The growth rate of the cells, and the length of time that the cells are

grown before detection of a viral property or activity also can influence the concentration of cells. Cells that grow quickly can be seeded into an assay format at a lower concentration than cells that grow more slowly, to ensure that growth is not impeded by a lack of nutrients or space before the assay is completed. Similarly, cells that will be grown throughout an assay that takes 3 days to complete can be seeded into an assay format at a lower concentration than if the assay takes only one day to complete. Conversely, cells used in an assay that takes only hours to complete can be seeded into the assay format at a relatively high concentration as it is unlikely that the cell growth will be restricted by a lack of nutrients or space during this time. A relatively high concentration of cells also will maximize the detection of the viral activity or property, as more virus can also be used. Such parameters can be taken into consideration, and the concentration of the cells used in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be altered accordingly. Preliminary studies on the growth kinetics of the cells can be performed to determine the optimal cell concentration that ensures that growth continues throughout the assay in cells that are not exposed to a chemotherapeutic agent. For example, cells can be seeded into the assay format at various dilutions and growth can be monitored over a period of days to determine the optimal initial concentration for a given application.

2. Concentration of virus

The reporter virus is added to the tumor cells at a sufficient concentration as to effect an appropriate level of infection that enables detection of chemotherapeutic efficacy by a particular method. The concentration of virus added to cell will be determined by the number of cells in culture, such that an appropriate multiplicity of infection (MOI) is established. The level of infection required is influenced by the methods by which viral sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is assessed, and can be determined by one of skill in the art. For example, if the level of expression of a reporter protein is assessed within hours of infection of the host tumor cell to determine the level of transcriptional activity following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, then a sufficiently high level of infection must be achieved immediately to produce an overall detectable level of reporter protein. Therefore, a relatively high MOI, such as an MOI of about 10 or more, can be employed in the methods described herein. The type of reporter protein, and the sensitivity of the

detection methods, also will influence the level of infection required. In another example where viral sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is being assessed by the production of viral particles after several days, a lower MOI, such as an MOI or 1, or 0.1, can be selected to avoid any cytopathic effects due to exponential increase of the viral particles in the cells. An optimal MOI for a particular reporter virus can be determined by one of skill in the art in preliminary experiments. For example, cells can be infected with a reporter virus at various concentrations and the viral growth and/or protein expression can be monitored over a period time to determine the optimal initial concentration of virus for a given application, hi other examples, a range of MOIs can be utilized in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay.

3. Incubation time

The incubation time selected for which target cells infected with the reporter virus are exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent is sufficiently long enough to allow the effects of the chemotherapeutic agent to be detected and differentiated from cells that have not been exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent. The time required is influenced by the reporter virus used and method of detection, and can be determined by one of skill in the art. For example, if the level of expression of a reporter protein is being used to determine the level of transcriptional activity following exposure to a chemotherapeutic agent, then a detectable level of reporter protein can accumulate in, for example, 2 hours or more, 6 hours or more, 12 hours or more, or 24 hours or more. The type of reporter protein, and the sensitivity of the detection methods, also can influence the incubation time required. If the number of virions produced is detected as a measure of target cell health, then an incubation time of 24 hours or more can be performed to differentiate between the response of cells that were exposed to the chemotherapeutic agent and those that were not exposed.

In some examples, a virus is used that has a known and well-characterized time course of infection. The optimal time at which the viral property or activity used to assess sensitivity to the chemotherapeutic agent is detected can therefore be readily determined. For example, the time at which transcription from certain promoters occurs following infection will be known for such a virus, as will be the time taken for viral genome replication and virion production. Therefore, the incubation time required, for example, for expression of a reporter protein to be detected, can be

determined. One of skill in the art could determine, for example, the optimal time during the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay at which to assay expression of a reporter protein under the control of a vaccinia late promoter. If necessary, preliminary studies can be performed by one of skill in the art to determine the optimal incubation time for a particular reporter virus. For example, cells can be infected with a reporter virus at various concentrations, and various viral activities and/or properties expression can be monitored over an extended period to determine the optimal time at which such activities or properties can be assayed.

4. Increasing assay sensitivity

One of skill in the art also can modify the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay to increase assay sensitivity using any method known in the art. In some examples, the assay format, such as the type of microplate used, can be modified to increase sensitivity. For example, white microplates can be used when detecting luminescence to maximize signal. The white material reflects light from the luminescent substrate out of the well and increases signal. Some white plates, however, phosphoresce when exposed to room light, which increases background counts. The plates can be dark- adapted before a reading is taken in order to reduce background counts. In some examples, assay sensitivity can be increased by modifying the methods of detection. It is generally believed that the sensitivity of detection increases from colorimetric, to fluorometric to luminetric methods. In some examples, the reporter virus used in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay can be modified such that it facilitates detection of a viral property or activity by a more sensitive detection method, such as luminescence. In another example, the reporter virus is modified to utilize a more stable or intense fluorescent, luminescent or colored signal for detection. For example, the codon optimized, humanized form of Gaussia luciferase generates a bioluminescence that is approximately 1000-fold more intense than that generated by the humanized Renilla luciferase (Tannous et al. , (2005) MoI. Ther. 11 :435-443). One of skill in the art can identify reporter proteins that emit maximal signals for increased sensitivity, hi other examples, the substrate used in the detection methods for a particular reporter virus can be altered, such that the mode of detection is changed to a more sensitive mode. For example, the expression of /3-galactosidase, which can be used as a reporter protein in a virus, can cleave many different substrates, including those that produce

colored, luminescent and fluorescent products. In further examples, various enhancers can be used in conjunction with the substrates to enhance the signal and increase sensitivity. For example, many luminescence enhancers are known in the art and can be used in the methods herein to increase sensitivity of the assay by increasing light intensity and/or stabilizing the signal (see e.g., Whitehead et ah, (1983) Nature 305: 158-159, Thorpe et ai, (1985) Anal. Biochem. 145:96-100, Eur. Pat. No. 87959, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,492,816, 5,994,073, 5,891,626 and 6,133,459) .

Other methods useful for increasing the sensitivity of immunodetection protocols also are known in the art. The form of light detected can be modified, as described above, to increase sensitivity. For example, the antibody conjugate being detected can be changed from a conjugate that is visualized by colorimetric means to a fluorescent conjugate. In another example, the signal can be amplified by increasing the number of immunocomplexing steps. For example, the detection of primary immune complexes (the viral protein, polypeptide or peptide complexed with a first antibody) can be performed using a two step approach. A second binding ligand, such as an antibody, that has binding affinity for the first antibody can be used to form secondary immune complex. After washing, the secondary immune complexes can then be contacted with a third binding ligand or antibody that has binding affinity for the second antibody or ligand, to forma tertiary immune complex. The third ligand or antibody is linked to a detectable label, allowing detection of the tertiary immune complexes thus formed. This system can provide for signal amplification. I. Combinations, kits and articles of manufacture

The viruses, cells, chemotherapeutic agents and combinations thereof, can be provided as combinations of the agents, which optionally can be packaged as kits. Kits can optionally include one or more components such as instructions for use, additional reagents such as diluents, culture media, substrates, antibodies and ligands, and material components, such as tubes, microtiter plates (e.g., multi-well plate) and containers for practice of the methods. Those of skill in the art will recognize many other possible containers and plates that can be used for contacting the various materials. The kit can include reagents for culturing a particular type of cell. For example, different eukaryotic cells can require different reagents for proper cell

culture. Exemplary kits can include the viruses provided herein, and can optionally include instructions for use, and additional reagents used in detection of a viral property or activity, such as expression of a reporter gene by the reporter virus. Such reagents can include one or more substrates for detection of a reporter enzyme. Examples of such reagents are described herein.

In one example, the viruses can be supplied in a lyophilized form, and the kit can optionally include one or more solutions for reconstitution of the virus. In a further example, the lyophilized viruses can be supplied in the kit in appropriate amounts in the wells of one or more microtiter plates.

In other examples, the kit can contain one or more chemotherapeutic agents in a lyophilized form, and the kit can optionally include one or more solutions for reconstitution of the agents. In a further example, one or more chemotherapeutic agents can be supplied in the kit in appropriate amounts in the wells of one or more microtiter plates.

In some examples, the combination or kit can include the particular cell, such as a tumor cell line, examples of which have also been described herein. In some examples, the kit can include a chemosensitizing agent, examples of which have been described herein. In some examples, the user can provide both the cell and the chemosensitizing agent. In some examples, the user of the kit can provide a set of compounds or a compound library. In some examples, the kit includes a device, such as a fiuorometer, luminometer, or spectrophotometer for assay detection.

In one example, a kit can contain instructions. Instructions typically include a tangible expression describing the virus and, optionally, other components included in the kit, and methods for assay, including methods for preparing the virus, methods for preparing the cells, methods for preparing the chemotherapeutic agent, and methods for detection of the appropriate virus property or activity.

The articles of manufacture provided herein contain the reporter viruses and packaging materials. Packaging materials for use in packaging products are known to those of skill in the art. See, e.g., U.S. Patent Nos. 5,323,907, 5,052,558 and 5,033,252. Examples of packaging materials include, but are not limited to, blister packs, bottles, tubes, bags, vials, containers, and any packaging material suitable for a

selected formulation and intended use. Articles of manufacture include a label with instructions for use of the packaged material.

One of skill in the art will appreciate the various components that can be included in a kit, consistent with the methods and systems disclosed herein. J. Examples

The following examples are included for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to limit the scope of the invention.

Example 1 Construction of Reporter Viruses

Reporter viruses for use in exemplary assays to assess the sensitivity of cells to chemotherapeutic agents were generated by modification of the vaccinia virus strain designated LIVP (a vaccinia virus strain, originally derived by adapting the Lister strain (ATCC Catalog No. VR- 1549) to calfskin (Institute for Research on Virus Preparations, Moscow, Russia, Al'tshtein et al. (1983) Dokl. Akad. Nauk USSR 285:696-699 ). The LIVP strain (whose genome sequence is set forth in SEQ ID NO: 1 ) from which the viral strains were generated contains a mutation in the coding sequence of the TK gene in which a substitution of a guanine nucleotide with a thymidine nucleotide (nucleotide position 80207 of SEQ ID NO: 1) introduces a premature STOP codon within the coding sequence. The LIVP strain was further modified to generate the GLV-lh68 virus (SEQ ID NO: 2; U.S. Patent Publication No. 2005-0031643 and Japanese Patent No. 3,934,673).

As described in U.S. Patent Publication No. 2005/0031643 and Japanese Patent No. 3,934,673 (see particularly Example 1 in each application), GLV-lh68 was generated by inserting expression cassettes encoding detectable marker proteins into the F14.5L (also designated in LIVP as F3) gene, thymidine kinase (TK) gene, and hemagglutinin (HA) gene loci of the vaccinia virus LIVP strain. All cloning steps were performed using vaccinia DNA homology-based shuttle plasmids generated for homologous recombination of foreign genes into target loci in the vaccinia virus genome through double reciprocal crossover (see Timiryasova et al. (2001) BioTechniques 31(3) 534-540). As described in U.S. Patent Publication 2005/0031643 and Japanese Patent No. 3,934,673, the GLV- Ih68 virus was constructed using plasmids pSC65 (Chakrabarti et al. (1997) Biotechniques 23:1094-

1097) and pVY6 (Flexner et al. (1988) Virology 166:339-349) to direct insertions into the TK and HA loci of LlVP genome, respectively. Recombinant viruses were generated by transformation of shuttle plasmid vectors using the FuGENE 6 transfection reagent (Roche Applied Science, Indianapolis, IN) into CV-I cells, which were preinfected with the LIVP parental virus, or one of its recombinant derivatives.

The expression cassettes were inserted in the LIVP genome in three separate rounds of recombinant virus production. In the first round, an expression cassette containing a Ruc-GFP cDNA (a fusion of DNA encoding Renilla luciferase and DNA encoding GFP) under the control of a vaccinia synthetic early/late promoter P SEL was inserted into Not I site of the F14.5L gene locus. In the second round, the resulting recombinant virus from the first round was further modified by insertion of an expression cassette containing DNA encoding beta-galactosidase (LacZ) under the control of the vaccinia early/late promoter P 7 5k (denoted (P 7 5k )/αcZ) and DNA encoding a rat transferrin receptor positioned in the reverse orientation for transcription relative to the vaccinia synthetic early/late promoter P SEL (denoted (P SEL ^TV/R) was inserted into the TK gene (the resulting virus does not express transferrin receptor protein since the DNA encoding the protein is positioned in the reverse orientation for transcription relative to the promoter in the cassette). In the third round, the resulting recombinant virus from the second round was then further modified by insertion of an expression cassette containing DNA encoding β- glucuronidase under the control of the vaccinia late promoter Pn k (denoted (Pιi k )gusA) was inserted into the HA gene. The resulting virus containing all three insertions is designated GLV- Ih68. The complete sequence of GLV-I h68 is shown in SEQ ID NO:2.

The expression of RUC-GFP fusion protein by the recombinant viruses was confirmed by luminescence assay and fluorescence microscopy. Expression of β- galactosidase and that of ^-glucuronidase A were confirmed by blue plaque formation upon addition of 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-jS-D-galactopyranoside (X-gal, Stratagene, La Jolla, CA) and 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-j8-D-glucuronic acid (X- GIcA, Research Product International Corporation, Mt. Prospect, IL), respectively. Positive plaques formed by recombinant virus were isolated and purified. The

presence of expression cassettes in the F14.5L, TK and HA loci were also confirmed by PCR and DNA sequencing.

High titer viral preparations were obtained by centrifugation of viral precipitates in sucrose gradients (Joklik WK (1962) Virol. 18:9-18). For testing infection, CV-I (1 x 10 5 ) and GI-101A (4 x 10 5 ) cells were seeded onto 24- well plates. After 24 hours in culture, the cells were infected with individual viruses at MOI of 0.001. The cells were incubated at 37°C for 1 hour with brief agitation every 10 minutes to allow infection to occur. The infection medium was removed, and cells were incubated in fresh growth medium until cell harvest at 24, 48, 72, or 96 hours after infection. Viral particles from the infected cells were released by a quick freeze- thaw cycle, and the titers determined as pfu/ml of medium in duplicate by plaque assay in CV-I cell monolayers. The same procedure was followed using a resting CV-I cell culture, which was obtained by culturing a confluent monolayer of CV-I cells for 6 days in DMEM supplemented with 5% FBS, before viral infection.

Example 2

Assessment of Ara-C Efficacy Using the Chemotherapeutic Sensitivity Assay and a Cell Viability Assay

The efficacy of the chemotherapeutic agent, cytosine arabinose (also called Ara-C, cytarabine, or arabinosylcytosine) was assayed using two assays, performed in parallel. In both assays, the Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)-like tumor cell lines, HL-60, KGIa and THP-I (ATCC) were used to study the inhibitory effects of Ara-C on tumor cell growth.

In the first assay, the tumor cell lines were infected with the vaccinia reporter strain, GLV- Ih68 (described in Example 1), and viral gene expression was assessed following treatment with Ara-C. The level of /3-glucuronidase and j8-galactosidase expression by the GLV- Ih68 vaccinia viral strain was used to measure viral gene transcription, which is an indicator of host cell metabolism. The second assay was a cell viability and growth assay, in which the tumor cell lines were treated with Ara-C and then incubated with the yellow tetrazolium salt, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyltetrazoliumbromide (MTT). In this assay, the reduction of MTT by the Ara- C-treated cells was used as a measure of cellular metabolism. The MTT assay is

routinely used to measure the ability of chemotherapeutic agents to inhibit tumor cell growth, and was therefore used here for comparison in order to evaluate the accuracy and suitability of the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay using reporter viruses for measuring the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. .

1. Chemotherapeutic Efficacy Assay Using Reporter Viruses The chemotherapeutic efficacy assay using the GLV- Ih68 vaccinia reporter virus was used to assess the sensitivity of three separate tumor cell lines to the chemotherapeutic agent, Ara-C. The assay is a colorimetric assay, which measures the levels of /3-galactosidase and/or /3-glucuronidase expression from virally-infected cells. The level of reporter gene expression under the control of vaccinia late promoters reflects the transcriptional output of the infecting virus. Gene expression from the late promoters is initiated at the onset of DNA replication, which is an indicator of the metabolic activity of the host cell. The level of reporter gene expression under the control of vaccinia early promoters is unaffected by drugs that affect the metabolic activity of the host cell, since early gene transcription is carried out by vaccinia proteins carried within the virion and is not dependent of viral replication. Thus, early gene expression can be used as an indicator of viral infectivity. In the GLV- Ih68 vaccinia viral strain, β-galactosidase expression is under the control of the vaccinia P 7 5k early/late promoter, which is an Ara-C-insensitive promoter. Expression of 0-galactosidase from virally infected cells was assessed to determine the relative level of viral infection of the cells. In the GLV-lh68 vaccinia viral strain, β- glucuronidase expression is under the control of the vaccinia Pπk late promoter, which is an Ara-C-sensitive promoter. Expression of /3-glucuronidase from virally infected cells was assessed to determine the relative Ara-C-sensitivity of the virally infected cells. Both enzymes were assayed using chromogenic substrates, whereby the colorless substrates are hydrolyzed by the enzymes to form a blue precipitate which can be visually assessed to determine the amount of enzyme in the assay. The substrates employed for measuring /3-galactosidase and /3-glucuronidase levels were X gal (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside) and X glue (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-glucuronic acid), respectively.

For the assay, HL-60, KGIa or THP-I cells were separately seeded in two columns each (16 wells) of a 96 well microtiter plate at a concentration of 1 *10 5 cells

per well in RPMI 1640 with 2% serum. The cells were then infected at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10 by adding 1 χ 6 PFU of the reporter virus GLV- Ih68 to each well. Ara-C (Sigma) was diluted in RPMI 1640 with 2% serum, and 10 μl/well was then added to each row of wells to produce a final concentration of InM, 1OnM, 10OnM, l μM, 10 μM, 100 μM or ImM Ara-C. Wells containing cells and virus in the absence of Ara-C also were included in the assay as a negative control. The microtiter plate was incubated for 24 hours at 37°C in 5% CO 2 , before the addition of the assay substrates. To each well of one column of each cell type, 1.8 μl of a 4% stock solution of X-gal (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside) in N, N- Dimethylformamide (DMF) was added. To each well of one other column of each cell type, 1.8 μl of a 10% stock solution of X-gluc (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta- D-glucuronic acid) in N, N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) was added. After incubation for a further hour at 37 0 C in 5% CO 2 , the relative level of expression of β- galactosidase and β-glucuronidase was determined by visual assessment of the amount of the blue precipitate in the wells containing the various concentrations of substrate.

2. Cell Viability and Growth Assay

For comparison, a cell viability assay based on MTT reduction was conducted simultaneously using the same cells (i.e., HL-60, KGIa or THP-I cells) and the same Ara-C concentrations as described above (i.e., InM, 1OnM, 10OnM, lμM, 10 μM, 100 μM or ImM). The HL-60, KGIa or THP-I cells were separately seeded in one column each (8 wells) of a 96 well microtiter plate to 1 xlO 5 cells per well in RPMI 1640 with 2% serum. Ara-C (Sigma) was diluted in the cell medium (RPMI 1640 with 2% serum) and 10 μl/well was then added to each row of wells to a final concentration of InM, 1OnM, 10OnM, l μM, 10 μM, 100 μM or ImM. A negative control in which the cells were incubated in the absence of Ara-C also was included in the assay. The microtiter plate was incubated for approximately 48 hours at 37°C in 5% CO 2 before 20μL of a 5mg/ml solution of MTT was added to the wells. After incubation for a further hour at 37°C in 5% CO 2 , the reduction of the MTT was assessed visually to determine the relative metabolic activity of the cells.

3. Results

Assessment of the effects of Ara-C on the metabolic activity of the three AML-like cell lines, HL-60, KGIa or THP-I, using the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay presented herein and a cell viability assay routinely used in such assessments, produced comparable results. /3-galactosidase expression was assessed in the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay and found to be equally robust in the presence or absence of Ara-C at all concentrations of Ara-C assayed, confirming that the P 7 5 k early/late promoter was, as reported, insensitive to Ara-C treatment of virally infected cells, and that this reporter gene could be used as an indicator of viral infectivity. The level of /3-galactosidase expression by the viruses infecting each of the three cells lines was consistent, indicating that HL-60, KGIa and THP-I cells were equally and effectively infected by the vaccinia virus. In contrast, there was dose-dependent inhibition of /3-glucuronidase expression upon addition of Ara-C to each of the virally infected cell lines. /3-glucuronidase expression was undetectable by eye in the HL-60 and THP-I cells incubated in the presence of 1 mM to lμM Ara-C, demonstrating complete abrogation of viral late transcription at these concentrations, suggesting that cellular metabolic activity in HL-60 and THP-I cells is compromised at concentrations of Ara-C above lμM. Late viral transcription, as measured by /3- glucuronidase expression, was abrogated in KGIa cells at Ara-C concentrations as low as 10OnM, suggesting that the cellular metabolic activity in KGIa cells is compromised at concentration of Ara-C above 10OnM. For all cell lines assayed, /3- glucuronidase expression increased as the Ara-C concentration decreased.

The dose-dependent reduction of /3-glucuronidase expression following treatment of the virally infected cells with Ara-C was accurately reflected in dose- dependent MTT reduction in the cell viability assay. The reduction of MTT was abrogated in the presence of lμM or greater concentration of Ara-C in HL-60 and THP-I cells, and 100 nM or greater concentration in KGIa cells. Lower concentrations of Ara-C resulted in increased MTT reduction, similar to the dose- dependent increase in /3-glucuronidase expression observed in the presence of decreasing concentrations of Ara-C. The comparable data obtained using both assays suggests that the chemotherapeutic efficacy assay using reporter viruses as presented herein is an effective and rapid assay for the assessment of efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents, such as Ara-C.

Example 3

Assessment of Efficacy of Panel of Chemotherapeutic Agents Using the Chemotherapeutic Sensitivity Assay and a Cell Viability Assay

The efficacy of several chemotherapeutic agents was assayed using the Chemotherapeutic Sensitivity Assay (Gus and/or LacZ output) and the MTT assay as described in Example 2. The infection and chemotherapeutic treatment protocol for the assay outlined in Example 2 was modified such that cells were batch infected with the GLV- Ih68 virus in a single container and then, following an incubation period, were dispensed into wells of microtiter plates, which contained the chemotherapeutic agent. The following chemotherapeutic agents were tested: AraC, daunorubicin, etoposide, cyclophosphamide, 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin and docetaxel. In both assays, THP-I cells were used to study the inhibitory effects of the chemotherapeutic agents on tumor cell growth.

1. Chemotherapeutic Efficacy Assay

THP-I Acute myeloid leukemia cells (ATCC) cells were grown in RPMI 1640 with 2% serum in suspension cell flasks to a concentration of approximately 2.5 x 10 5 cells/per ml. The cells were concentrated to 2 x 10 6 cells per ml in a 50 ml conical tube. A total volume of 5 ml (i.e. 1 x 10 7 cells) was infected at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 10 by adding 1 χ 8 PFU of the reporter virus GLV- Ih68 to the cells. The cells were incubated with the virus for 30 minutes at 37°C in 5% CO 2 .

The chemotherapeutic agents were separately prepared and pre-aliquoted to microtiter plates. AraC, daunorubicin, and cyclophosphamide were prepared in sterile distilled water (SDW); etoposide was prepared in ethanol; and pharmaceutical grade solutions of 5-fluorouracil, cisplatin and docetaxel (taxotere; Sanofi Aventis) were purchased from commercial sources. The drugs were dispensed into 96-well microtiter plates at selected concentrations in a volume of 50 ul.

The maximum concentration for each drug tested is shown in Table 3. The maximum concentrations were selected based on peak plasma levels where available. Five ten- fold serial dilutions of each drug were performed to give a total of 6 concentrations tested. For the serial dilutions, 1.1 ul (per number of samples to be tested) of a stock solution was added to total volume of 55 ul RPMI 1640 (per

number of samples to be tested), then 5 ten- fold serial dilutions were performed. 50 ul of each diluted drug sample was added to the microtiter plate. Infected cells were seeded into the microtiter plates at a concentration of 1 *10 5 cells per well in RPMI 1640 with 2% serum (50 ul volume). Controls employed in the experiment included no drug treatment, no virus infection and virus infection with no drug treatment.

The microtiter plate was incubated for 24 hours at 37°C in 5% CO 2 , before the addition of the assay substrates. For the /3-galactosidase assay, 1.8 μl of a 4% stock solution of X-gal (5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside) in N, N- Dimethylformamide (DMF) was added to each designated well. For the β- glucuronidase assay, 1.8 μl of a 10% stock solution of X-gluc (5-bromo-4-chloro-3- indolyl-beta-D-glucuronic acid) in N, N-Dimethylformamide (DMF) was added to each designated well. After incubation for a further hour at 37°C in 5% CO 2 , the relative level of expression of /3-galactosidase and ^-glucuronidase was determined by visual assessment of the amount of the blue precipitate in the wells containing the various concentrations of substrate. Results of the assay were determined by visual observation as described below.

2. Cell Viability and Growth Assay

For comparison, the MTT cell viability assay was conducted simultaneously using the same cells (i.e., THP-I cells) and the same concentrations of the chemotherapeutic agents as described above. For the MTT assay, the infected THP-I cells were seeded into wells of the 96 well microtiter plate, containing the pre- dispensed chemotherapeutic agents, at a concentration of 1 x 10 5 cells per well in RPMI 1640 with 2% serum (50 ul volume). A no drug treatment sample was employed as a control. The microtiter plate was incubated for approximately 48 hours at 37°C in 5% CO 2 . Following the incubation period, 20μL of a 5 mg/ml solution of MTT was added to the wells. After incubation for a further 4 hours at 37°C in 5% CO 2 , the reduction of the MTT was assessed visually to determine the relative metabolic activity of the cells. Results of the assay were determined by visual observation as described below.

3. Results

In the absence of any drug treatment, production of β-galactosidase and β- glucuronidase was unaffected in the THP-I virus infected cells, indicating consistent infectivity and reporter gene expression in the infected cells.

For the Ara-C treatments, jS-galactosidase expression was unaffected in the presence of Ara-C at all concentrations less than the maximal concentration of the drug tested, indicating insensitivity to inhibition of the vaccinia P 7 5 k early/late promoter as expected. Limited inhibition was seen at the highest concentration of the drug tested (i.e., 1 mM). By contrast, there was dose-dependent inhibition of β- glucuronidase expression upon addition of Ara-C. Inhibition was observed at concentrations of 1 μM Ara-C and higher in accordance with previous results (see, e.g, Example 2). Cell death was also detected in the MTT assay at Ara-C concentrations of 1 μM and above. These results confirmed previous observations that Ara-C effectively inhibits late vaccinia promoters as compared to the vaccinia P 7.5k early/late promoter. The results of these experiments demonstrate that Ara-C treatment also can be employed as an infection and treatment control. Since Ara-C does not inhibit vaccinia early promoter, this allows comparison of the metabolic inhibition and virus infectivity in the same assay.

Daunorubicin also exhibited the a similar pattern of inhibition in the assays, daunorubicin exhibited a dose-dependent inhibition of /3-glucuronidase expression starting at a drug concentration of 10 nM. There was some inhibition of the β- galactosidase expression at greater than 100 nM concentration of daunorubicin, indicating some inhibition of the early vaccinia promoter. The MTT assay was in accordance with the /3-glucuronidase results, as cell death was observed at the 10 μM concentration and above.

For the 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin treatments, a very pale blue/pink color was observed at the highest drug concentrations tested (i.e. 1.9 μM and 100 μM, respectively) for the /3-glucuronidase assay, indicating partial cell killing. The MTT assay also indicated cell death at the maximal concentration used, and only slight cell death at the next lowest concentration. This results indicate some resistance of the cells to the 5-fluorouracil and cisplatin treatments; additional experiments using higher concentrations and different cell types can be performed to confirm the results.

Cyclophosphamide did not inhibit /3-glucuronidase and /3-galactosidase expression or exhibit cell death in the MTT assay at the concentrations tested (i.e. up to 100 μM). Additional cell types and concentrations above 100 μM can be tested determine if higher concentrations can cause inhibition or whether the inhibition can be achieved in other cell types.

For docetaxel, both the /3-glucuronidase and /3-galactosidase expression was inhibited at the highest concentration of docetaxel tested (i.e. 460 μM). The vaccinia late promoter in this assay also was more sensitive than the early promoter to treatment of the drug. /3-galactosidase expression was inhibited at 46 μM and above. The MTT assay also was inhibited at 46 μM Docetaxel. The results suggest that the mitotic arrest of the host cells in G2-M affects the sensitivity of the early versus late promoters. Use of both early and late promoters in the assay thus allows evaluation of a variety of anti-cancer drugs that may affect different points in the cell cycle.

Table 3

Taken together, these experiments demonstrate that the results of chemotherapeutic assay have a strong correlation with the results obtained from the traditional MTT assay in testing therapeutic drug efficacy. As described above, the

assay can be expanded to include other cell types, especially primary tumor cells from subjects, and a wider variety of anti-cancer drugs and concentrations. The chemotherapeutic assay using viruses, such as vaccinia virus, offers the advantage of reduced assay time compared to other chemotherapeutic efficacy assays, such as the MTT assay, since the results of the chemotherapeutic assay, as described herein, can be obtained within a few hours as opposed to several days. The multiwell format of the assay also allows a variety of conditions, including cell types (e.g., different cancer lineages or primary tumor cell versus one or more types of normal cells extracted from a subject), drug concentrations, and type of drugs, to be tested efficiently. The sensitivity and throughput of the assay can also be improved through the use of multiwell plate readers. Thus, the assays provided herein are desirable over traditional approaches to testing chemotherapeutic drugs, given the urgency in determining which course of treatment is best suited for a particular patient.

Since modifications will be apparent to those of skill in this art, it is intended that this invention be limited only by the scope of the appended claims.