Mesenchymal Stem Cells: vector for targeted cancer therapy
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been studied extensively due to their potential to differentiate to cell types of varying lineages.Adipose tissue and umbilical cord blood are two tissues frequently used to obtain MSCs. Due to tumor tropism of MSCs and their ability to protect encoded cytotoxic genes, MSCs have garnered interest as a potential vector for targeted therapy, with limited damage to normal tissues. The tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in ensuring the survival of cancer cells through promotion of MSCs to differentiate into cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs), which promote tumor growth and metastasis. Through specific interactions between ligands and receptors expressed on MSCs and cancer cells, respectively,MSCs can home to necrotic tissues or inflamed sites in the body, including the tumor microenvironment. In fact, an inflammatory tumor environment is similar to a wound healing environment. This review discusses the preeminent characteristics of MSCs and their influence ontumor cell growth and metastasis. MSCs may represent an encouraging platform for cancer treatment. The combination of MSC and gene therapy represents a potentially outstanding strategy to specifically target and effectively destroy tumor.