Research ArticleCANCER

Development of next-generation tumor-homing induced neural stem cells to enhance treatment of metastatic cancers

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Science Advances  09 Jun 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 24, eabf1526
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abf1526


Engineered tumor-homing neural stem cells (NSCs) have shown promise in treating cancer. Recently, we transdifferentiated skin fibroblasts into human-induced NSCs (hiNSC) as personalized NSC drug carriers. Here, using a SOX2 and spheroidal culture-based reprogramming strategy, we generated a new hiNSC variant, hiNeuroS, that was genetically distinct from fibroblasts and first-generation hiNSCs and had significantly enhanced tumor-homing and antitumor properties. In vitro, hiNeuroSs demonstrated superior migration to human triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells and in vivo rapidly homed to TNBC tumor foci following intracerebroventricular (ICV) infusion. In TNBC parenchymal metastasis models, ICV infusion of hiNeuroSs secreting the proapoptotic agent TRAIL (hiNeuroS-TRAIL) significantly reduced tumor burden and extended median survival. In models of TNBC leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, ICV dosing of hiNeuroS-TRAIL therapy significantly delayed the onset of tumor formation and extended survival when administered as a prophylactic treatment, as well as reduced tumor volume while prolonging survival when delivered as established tumor therapy.

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