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Cancer Gene Ther. 2012 Jun;19(6):431-42. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2012.21. Epub 2012 May 4.

Pharmacokinetic study of neural stem cell-based cell carrier for oncolytic virotherapy: targeted delivery of the therapeutic payload in an orthotopic brain tumor model.

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The Brain Tumor Center, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.


Oncolytic virotherapy is a promising novel therapy for glioblastoma that needs to be optimized before introduced to clinic. The targeting of conditionally replicating adenoviruses (CRAds) can be improved by relying on the tumor-tropic properties of neural stem cells (NSCs). Here, we report the characterization of an FDA approved NSC, HB1.F3-CD, as a cell carrier for CRAd-S-pk7, a glioma-tropic oncolytic adenovirus. We show that NSCs replicate and release infectious CRAd-S-pk7 progeny capable of lysing glioma cell lines. Moreover, ex-vivo-loaded NSCs, injected intracranially in nude mice bearing human glioma xenografts (i) retained their tumor tropism, (ii) continued to replicate CRAd-S-pk7 for more than a week after reaching the tumor site and (iii) successfully handed off CRAd-S-pk7 to glioma cells in vivo. Delivery via carrier cells reduced non-specific adenovirus distribution in the mouse brain. Moreover, we assessed biodistribution of loaded NSCs after intracranial injection in animal models semi-permissive to adenovirus replication, the Syrian hamster and cotton rat. NSCs did not migrate to distant organs and high levels of CRAd-S-pk7 DNA were observed only in the injected hemisphere. In conclusion, this optimized carrier system, with high efficiency of adenovirus delivery and minimal systemic toxicity, poses considerable advantages for anti-glioma oncolytic virotherapy.

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