Oncolytic adenoviral virotherapy (OV) is a highly promising approach for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In practice, however, the approach is limited by poor viral distribution and spread throughout the tumor mass.
Glioblastoma multiforme is a primary malignancy of the central nervous system that is universally fatal due to its disseminated nature. Recent investigations have focused on the unique tumor-tropic properties of stem cells as a novel platform for targeted delivery of anticancer agents to the brain. Neural stem cells (NSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) both have the potential to function as cell carriers for targeted delivery of a glioma restricted oncolytic virus to disseminated tumor due to their reported tumor tropism. In this study, we evaluated NSCs and MSCs as cellular delivery vehicles for an oncolytic adenovirus in the context of human glioma. We report the first preclinical comparison of the two cell lines and show that, while both stem cell lines are able to support therapeutic adenoviral replication intracellularly, the amount of virus released from NSCs was a log higher than the MSC (p < 0.001). Moreover, only virus loaded NSCs that were administered intracranially in an orthotopic glioma model significantly prolonged the survival of tumor bearing animals (median survival for NSCs 68.5 days vs 44 days for MSCs, p < 0.002). Loading oncolytic adenovirus into NSCs and MSCs also led to expression of both pro- and anti-inflammatory genes and decreased vector-mediated neuroinflammation. Our results indicate that, despite possessing a comparable migratory capacity, NSCs display superior therapeutic efficacy in the context of intracranial tumors. Taken together, these findings argue in favor of NSCs as an effective cell carrier for antiglioma oncolytic virotherapy.
The potential utility of oncolytic adenoviruses as anticancer agents is significantly hampered by the inability of the currently available viral vectors to effectively target micrometastatic tumor burden. Neural stem cells (NSCs) have the ability to function as cell carriers for targeted delivery of an oncolytic adenovirus because of their inherent tumor-tropic migratory ability. We have previously reported that in vivo delivery of CRAd-S-pk7, a glioma-restricted oncolytic adenovirus, can enhance the survival of animals with experimental glioma. In this study, we show that intratumoral delivery of NSCs loaded with the CRAD-S-pk7 in an orthotopic xenograft model of human glioma is able to not only inhibit tumor growth but more importantly to increase median survival by ~50% versus animals treated with CRAd-S-pk7 alone (P = 0.0007). We also report that oncolytic virus infection upregulates different chemoattractant receptors and significantly enhances migratory capacity of NSCs both in vitro and in vivo. Our data further suggest that NSC-based carriers have the potential to improve the clinical efficacy of antiglioma virotherapy by not only protecting therapeutic virus from the host immune system, but also amplifying the therapeutic payload selectively at tumor sites.
To determine whether or not local, injury-induced aromatization and/or estrogen provision can affect cyto- or neuro-genesis following mechanical brain damage, two groups of adult male zebra finches sustained bilateral penetrating brain injuries. The first received contralateral injections of vehicle or the aromatase inhibitor fadrozole. The second group received contalateral injections of fadrozole, or fadrozole with 17?-estradiol. Subsequent to injury, birds were injected with the thymidine analog 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU). Two weeks following injury, the birds were perfused, and coronal sections were labeled using antibodies against BrdU and the neuronal proteins HuC/HuD. In a double blind fashion, BrdU positive cells and BrdU/Hu double-labeled cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and at the injury site (INJ) were imaged and sampled. The average numbers of cells per image were compared across brain regions and treatments using repeated measures ANOVAs and, where applicable, post-hoc, pairwise comparisons. Fadrozole administration had no detectable effect on cytogenesis or neurogenesis, however, fadrozole coupled with estradiol significantly increased both measures. The dorsal SVZ had the greatest proportion of new cells that differentiated into neurons, though the highest numbers of BrdU labeled and BrdU, Hu double-labeled cells were detected at the INJ. In the adult zebra finch brain, local estradiol provision can increase cytogenesis and neurogenesis, however, whether or not endogenous glial aromatization is sufficient to similarly affect these processes remains to be seen.
Gene therapy is a novel means of anticancer treatment that has led to preliminary positive results in the preclinical setting, as well as in clinical trials; however, successful clinical application of this approach has been hampered by the inability of gene delivery systems to target tumors and to deliver a therapeutic payload to disseminated tumor foci efficiently. Along with viral vector systems, various mammalian cells with tropism for tumor cells have been considered as vehicles for delivery of anticancer therapeutics. The discovery of the inherent tumor-tropic properties of neural stem cells (NSCs) has provided a unique opportunity to develop targeted therapies that use NSCs as a vehicle to track invasive tumor cells and deliver anticancer agents selectively to diseased areas. Many in vivo and in vitro studies have demonstrated that the targeted migration of NSCs to infiltrative brain tumors, including malignant glioma, provides a potential therapeutic approach. In this review, the development of NSCs as targeted carriers for anticancer gene therapy is discussed, and barriers in the path to the clinic, as well as approaches to overcoming such barriers are presented.
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