Self renewal, extensive proliferation and multilineage differentiation ability in vitro and in vivo make mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) powerful tools for tissue engineering. Beyond their potential uses in regenerative medicine, an emerging field of research aims to utilize MSCs for anti-cancer treatment. These strategies are based on the remarkable ability of MSCs to localize and integrate into tumor stroma and deliver anti-cancer agents (US20100055167, US20120207725, US20120010499). Genetically engineered MSCs can specifically target different tumor types and locally secrete therapeutic proteins such as interferons α and β, interleukins 2 and 12 or chemokine CX3CL1 (US20110027239, US20120087901, WO2012071527). In addition, MSCs have also been engineered to deliver oncolytic viruses, for targeted chemotherapy using enzyme prodrug conversion or for inducing tumor cell apoptosis by delivering tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) (WO2012106281). The patent databases FPO and Delphion were used to locate patents that were published between 2005 and 2013. Here, we present the current progress and the most recent patents on MSC anti-cancer drug delivery systems and discuss future directions in the field.
Keywords: Cancer therapy, drug delivery, mesenchymal stem cells.