February 2015

Check out this great new paper!! ;-)  http://www.eurekaselect.com/128010/article

Curr Cancer Drug Targets. 2015;15(2):88-98.

Abstract:  Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) are known to be the helpers for the healing of tissue damage, often referred to as ambulatory cells. However, MSCs are also recruited by cancer cells to similarly aid in tumor growth and progression. In this review, some of the key steps in cancer progression and metastases are described including the various steps in which MSCs participate and may play important roles. MSCs aid in cancer cells' ability to evade immune attack, while promoting tumor angiogenesis, even being counter-acting against chemotherapeutics and other drugs used to fight various cancers. Furthermore, MSCs participate in many of the crucial steps in invasion and metastasis, including stimulating the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and induction of stem-like properties that allow cancer stem cells to increase their survivability through the circulation. These steps are described in detail. Differences between circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) are discussed, along with descriptions of the formation of a pre-metastatic niche, the role of exosomes from both cancer cells and MSCs in metastasis and tumor reseeding (self-seeding). More and more, MSCs are being proposed as a promising tumor targeting drug-delivery tool. In order to fulfill this promise, further understanding of the precise roles that MSCs play in the process of cancer metastases must be achieved, in attempting to create remedies that will improve the outcome of available therapeutics. 

PMID:  25619387  [PubMed - in process]



February 2014

A special thanks to everyone who diligently voted for AlloOnc in the FedEx Grant Contest. We closed the round with over 1100 votes. That's pretty neat! 

AlloOnc was not chosen as one of the companies to move forward in the contest, but we are enthused by how much support we have. We vow to push forward, even harder. 




January 2014

New medical textbook by de Gruyter publishers includes a chapter entitled "Mesenchymal stem cells as a carrier for tumor-targeting therapeutics" by AlloOnc co-founder! 

Chapter 18 Abstract: Current chemotherapy is not tumor-selective and gives rise to severe adverse effects for patients. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exhibit a unique tumor-homing property and could be used as a drug carrier for targeting tumor therapy. The tumor-homing property of MSCs depends on the hypoxia and inflammatory status in the tumor, and is modulated by factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) or other cytokines released from tumors. MSCs may be isolated from umbilical cord blood or adipose tissues, and are readily engineered for carrying therapeutics, such as oncolytic adenovirus, specific cytotoxic molecules, nucleotides, prodrugs cytokines or antibodies, or to produce therapeutic molecules within a tumor site. The most promising therapeutics include blockers for VEGF, prodrugs (e.g. ganciclovir), oncolytic adenovirus, thymidine kinase, and pro-apoptotic “TRAIL”. The efficacy of these bio-engineered MSCs has been evaluated in animal models of pulmonary, breast, gastrointestinal, and pancreatic cancer xenografts grown in immune-deficient mice, and their safety has been shown in some early phase human trials, but they have yet not been moved to later phase clinical application. Although these novel approaches are promising, MSCs may have some risks for cancer patients since MSCs are found to be immunosuppressive in tumor sites, are pro-angiogenic, and in some cases may promote tumor growth. Therefore, whether bio-engineered MSCs will be a useful therapeutic vehicle depends on the property of the specially engineered cell population, tumor types and locations, as well as the time and route of administration of MSCs-based therapeutics. This chapter discusses approaches to utilize MSCs’ tumor-homing properties for improving current cancer therapy.

(on sale now at Amazon.com and various bookstores)