Clinical application of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)based cancer therapeutics has not reached optimal potencies in part due to inadequate drug stability and inefficiencies in cancer-selective drug delivery. As such, innovative strategies regarding drug design and delivery are of utmost importance to achieve improved treatment results. With our current study, we aimed at exploring the groundwork for a two-stage targeting concept, which is based on the intrinsic tumor homing capacity of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as cellular drug factories for the in situ production of our newly designed and biomarker-targeted TRAIL-based TR3 therapeutics. Since MSCs are primary cells, capable in vitro of only a limited number of cell divisions, identification of suitable strategies for their efficient genetic manipulation is of critical importance. We chose adenoviral (Ad) vectors as a transduction vehicle due to its ability to infect dividing and non-dividing cells and because of their limited restrictions regarding the packaging capacity of their genetic payload. In order to enhance the transduction efficacy of MSCs using Ad5 wild-type-based vectors, we tested a variety of fiber knob modifications on a panel of patient-derived MSC lines established from adipose tissue. We identified Ad5pK7, an Ad5 vector containing a polylysine fiber knob modification, exhibiting the highest transduction rates across a panel of 16 patient-derived MSC lines. We further demonstrated that MSCs could be efficiently transduced with an Ad5pK7 vector containing membrane-anchored and secreted TR3 expression units, including the MUC16 (CA125)-targeted variant Meso64-TR3. In both in vitro and in vivo experiments, MSC-derived Meso64-TR3 was far more potent on MUC16-expressing ovarian cancer compared to its non-targeted TR3 counterpart. Our findings thus provide the foundation to initiate further preclinical investigations on MSC-mediated treatment options in ovarian cancer using biomarker-targeted TR3-based biologics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190125
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017


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