Stem cell-based gene therapy activated using magnetic hyperthermia to enhance the treatment of cancer

Perry T. Yin, Shreyas Shah, Nicholas J. Pasquale, Olga B. Garbuzenko, Tamara Minko, Ki Bum Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Stem cell-based gene therapies, wherein stem cells are genetically engineered to express therapeutic molecules, have shown tremendous potential for cancer applications owing to their innate ability to home to tumors. However, traditional stem cell-based gene therapies are hampered by our current inability to control when the therapeutic genes are actually turned on, thereby resulting in detrimental side effects. Here, we report the novel application of magnetic core-shell nanoparticles for the dual purpose of delivering and activating a heat-inducible gene vector that encodes TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (AD-MSCs). By combining the tumor tropism of the AD-MSCs with the spatiotemporal MCNP-based delivery and activation of TRAIL expression, this platform provides an attractive means with which to enhance our control over the activation of stem cell-based gene therapies. In particular, we found that these engineered AD-MSCs retained their innate ability to proliferate, differentiate, and, most importantly, home to tumors, making them ideal cellular carriers. Moreover, exposure of the engineered AD-MSCS to mild magnetic hyperthermia resulted in the selective expression of TRAIL from the engineered AD-MSCs and, as a result, induced significant ovarian cancer cell death in vitro and in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-57
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


  • Cancer therapy
  • Gene therapy
  • Hyperthermia
  • Magnetic core-shell nanoparticles
  • Stem cell therapy

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