He noted that there will be a slight learning curve for doctors who are new to administering the treatment. “I think that for the community oncologists, it’s going to take a while to learn how to do this,” he said. “There are unique features of storing, preparing, and administering the drug, and they take a little bit of education.”

He also said that he thinks it will be important for community oncologists to educate patients about the treatment and its safety concerns. “Patients are increasingly involved in dictating their care, and most of the patients I see understand the concept [of oncolytic virus immunotherapy],” he said.

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Dr Kaufman explained that although his team has not seen household transmission of the virus in the trials they have conducted, patients should be educated on how to take care of themselves and avoid accidental exposure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the therapy for use in October 2015.2


  1. Andtbacka RH, Kaufman HL, Collichio F, et al. Talimogene laherparepvec improves durable response rate in patients with advanced melanoma. J Clin Oncol. 2015;33(25)2780-2788.
  2. FDA approves first-of-its-kind product for the treatment of melanoma [news release]. Silver Spring, MD: U.S. Food and Drug Administration; October 27, 2015. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm469571.htm. Accessed January 11, 2016.