Theses Doctoral

Engineering mesenchymal stem cells for enhanced cancer therapy

Suryaprakash, Smruthi

Glioblastoma is the most common adult malignant primary brain tumor with one of the worst prognosis. With a survival of 10 to 12 months, glioblastoma remains one of the most challenging disease to treat. The standard treatment method involves maximal possible resection of the tumor followed by radiation and chemotherapy. However, the short half-life of most chemotherapeutic drugs, high systemic toxicity and inability to cross the blood brain barrier inhibits effective delivery of the chemotherapeutics to the tumor.
An ideal drug delivery system can reach the tumor site with high efficiency and continuously release the drug at the tumor site for an extended period. Adult stem cells including neural stem cells (NSC) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have inherent tumor trophic properties allowing for site-specific delivery of chemotherapeutics. They can also be genetically engineered to secrete the chemotherapeutic drug continuously making them ideal candidates for cell-based delivery system for treating glioblastoma.
MSC have been isolated from a wide range of sources including bone marrow, umbilical cord, adipose tissue, liver, multiple dental tissues and induced pluripotent stem cells. MSC are also easily amenable to viral modification allowing for easy manipulation to produce chemotherapeutic drugs. Additionally, more than 350 clinical trials using MSC have successfully established the safety of using MSC for cell-based therapies. Collectively these factors have led to the widespread use of MSC in cancer therapy. MSC have been successfully transduced to produce chemotherapeutic drugs to treat glioma, melanoma, lung cancer, ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
Despite the multitudes of advantages that cell therapy provides they are limited in three main domains (1) Low cell retention and survival at the site of the tumor (2) In ability to co-deliver multiple therapeutics and (3) In ability to deliver drugs other than peptide based drugs. This thesis details the work to engineer mesenchymal stem cells to tackle these three issues and develop a system that can increase the efficacy of glioblastoma treatment.
To increase the cellular retention and survival we engineered MSC to form multicellular spheroids and cell sheets. To co-delivery multiple therapeutics we engineered MSC to form MSC/DNA-templated nanoparticle hybrid cluster to co-deliver drugs for cancer therapy. The system showed superior performance due to the increased retention of the cells and nanoparticle at the tumor site. Finally, to deliver drugs other peptide based we engineered graphene oxide cellular patches for mesenchymal stem cells. Graphene oxide can carry diverse therapeutics and can kill the cancer cells without affecting the cellular viability of MSC.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biomedical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Leong, Kam W.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 2, 2018