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Patient-derived mesenchymal stem cells as delivery vehicles for oncolytic virotherapy: novel state-of-the-art technology

Authors Ramírez M, García-Castro J, Melen G, González-Murillo A, Franco-Luzón L

Received 19 June 2015

Accepted for publication 5 September 2015

Published 14 October 2015 Volume 2015:4 Pages 149—155

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OV.S66010

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Ahmed Majeed Al-Shammari

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Faris Farassati


Manuel Ramírez,1 Javier García-Castro,2 Gustavo J Melen,1 África González-Murillo,1 Lidia Franco-Luzón1

1Oncohematología, Hospital Universitario Niño Jesús, 2Unidad de Biotecnología Celular, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

Abstract: Oncolytic virotherapy is gaining interest in the clinic as a new weapon against cancer. In vivo administration of oncolytic viruses showed important limitations that decrease their effectiveness very significantly: the antiviral immune response causes the elimination of the therapeutic effect, and the poor natural ability of oncolytic viruses to infect micrometastatic lesions significantly minimizes the effective dose of virus. This review will focus on updating the technical and scientific foundations of one of the strategies developed to overcome these limitations, ie, using cells as vehicles for oncolytic viruses. Among many candidates, a special type of adult stem cell, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have already been used in the clinic as cell vehicles for oncolytic viruses, partly due to the fact that these cells are actively being evaluated for other indications. MSC carrier cells are used as Trojan horses loaded with oncoviruses, are administered systemically, and release their cargos at the right places. MSCs are equipped with an array of molecules involved in cell arrest in the capillaries (integrins and selectins), migration toward specific parenchymal locations within tissues (chemokine receptors), and invasion and degradation of the extracellular matrix (proteases). In addition to anatomical targeting capacity, MSCs have a well-recognized role in modulating immune responses by affecting cells of the innate (antigen-presenting cells, natural killer cells) and adaptive immune system (effector and regulatory lymphocytes). Therefore, carrier MSCs may also modulate the immune responses taking place after therapy, ie, the antiviral and the antitumor immune responses.

Keywords: virotherapy, mesenchymal stem cells, oncolytic adenovirus

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