Mesenchymal stem cells as carriers for systemic delivery of oncolytic viruses

Agata Hadryś, Aleksander Sochanik, Grant McFadden, Joanna Jazowiecka-Rakus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Progress in genetic engineering led to the emergence of some viruses as potent anticancer therapeutics. These oncolytic viruses combine self-amplification with dual antitumor action: oncolytic (destruction of cancer cells) and immunostimulatory (eliciting acquired antitumor response against cancer epitopes). As any other viruses, they trigger antiviral response upon systemic administration. Mesenchymal stem cells are immature cells capable of self-renewing and differentiating into many cell types that belong to three germinal layers. Due to their inherent tumor tropism mesenchymal stem cells loaded with oncolytic virus can improve delivery of the therapeutic cargo to cancer sites. Shielding of oncolytic viral construct from antiviral host immune response makes these cells prospective delivery vehicles to even hard-to-reach metastatic neoplastic foci. Use of mesenchymal stem cells has been criticized by some investigators as limiting proliferative abilities of primary cells and increasing the risk of malignant transformation, as well as attenuating therapeutic responses. However, majority of preclinical studies indicate safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells used as carriers of oncolytic viruses. In view of contradictory postulates, the debate continues. The review discusses mesenchymal stem cells as carriers for delivery of genetically engineered oncolytic constructs and focuses on systemic approach to oncoviral treatment of some deadly neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number172991
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
StatePublished - May 5 2020


  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Oncolytic viruses
  • Systemic virotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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