Mesenchymal stem cells as delivery vectors for anti-tumor therapy
Recent studies have demonstrated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are able to migrate specifically to tumors and their metastatic sites when administered intravenously. This characteristic tumor tropism has opened up an emerging field to utilize MSCs as vectors to deliver anti-cancer agents for targeted therapies. Genetically engineered MSCs can specifically migrate to various tumors and locally secrete therapeutic proteins, such as interferon β (IFN-β) and IFN-γ, interleukin 12 and 24, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) or suicide gene/enzyme prodrug. In addition, MSCs have also been engineered to deliver oncolytic viruses and drug-loaded nanoparticles. Here, we present the characteristics of MSCs, the current progress on MSC mediated anti-cancer agents delivery systems and the interaction between MSCs and tumors.