Drug-Loaded Nanoparticle Systems And Adult Stem Cells: A Potential Marriage For The Treatment Of Malignant Glioma?

Brenda Auffinger, Ramin Morshed, Alex Tobias, Yu Cheng, Atique U Ahmed and Maciej S Lesniak _

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Oncotarget. 2012; 4:378-396. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.937

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Brenda Auffinger1, Ramin Morshed1, Alex Tobias1, Yu Cheng1, Atique U Ahmed1, Maciej S Lesniak1

1 The Brain Tumor Center, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA


Maciej S Lesniak, email:

Keywords: Nanoparticle, drug delivery systems, stem cell carriers, malignant glioma, brain cancer, targeted delivery.

Received: March 15, 2013 Accepted: March 24, 2013 Published: March 26, 2013


Despite all recent advances in malignant glioma research, only modest progress has been achieved in improving patient prognosis and quality of life. Such a clinical scenario underscores the importance of investing in new therapeutic approaches that, when combined with conventional therapies, are able to effectively eradicate glioma infiltration and target distant tumor foci. Nanoparticle-loaded delivery systems have recently arisen as an exciting alternative to improve targeted anti-glioma drug delivery. As drug carriers, they are able to efficiently protect the therapeutic agent and allow for sustained drug release. In addition, their surface can be easily manipulated with the addition of special ligands, which are responsible for enhancing tumor-specific nanoparticle permeability. However, their inefficient intratumoral distribution and failure to target disseminated tumor burden still pose a big challenge for their implementation as a therapeutic option in the clinical setting. Stem cell-based delivery of drug-loaded nanoparticles offers an interesting option to overcome such issues. Their ability to incorporate nanoparticles and migrate throughout interstitial barriers, together with their inherent tumor-tropic properties and synergistic anti-tumor effects make these stem cell carriers a good fit for such combined therapy. In this review, we will describe the main nanoparticle delivery systems that are presently available in preclinical and clinical studies. We will discuss their mechanisms of targeting, current delivery methods, attractive features and pitfalls. We will also debate the potential applications of stem cell carriers loaded with therapeutic nanoparticles in anticancer therapy and why such an attractive combined approach has not yet reached clinical trials.

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