Mesenchymal stem cell therapy assisted by nanotechnology: a possible combinational treatment for brain tumor and central nerve regeneration


Song Kwon, Kwai Han Yoo, Sun Jin Sym*, and Dongwoo Khang*

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) intrinsically possess unique features that not only help in their migration towards the tumor-rich environment but they also secrete versatile types of secretomes to induce nerve regeneration and analgesic effects at inflammatory sites. As a matter of course, engineering MSCs to enhance their intrinsic abilities is growing in interest in the oncology and regenerative field. However, the concern of possible tumorigenesis of genetically modified MSCs prompted the development of non-viral transfected MSCs armed with nanotechnology for more effective cancer and regenerative treatment. Despite the fact that a large number of successful studies have expanded our current knowledge in tumor-specific targeting, targeting damaged brain site remains enigmatic due to the presence of a blood–brain barrier (BBB). A BBB is a barrier that separates blood from brain, but MSCs with intrinsic features of transmigration across the BBB can efficiently deliver desired drugs to target sites. Importantly, MSCs, when mediated by nanoparticles, can further enhance tumor tropism and can regenerate the damaged neurons in the central nervous system through the promotion of axon growth. This review highlights the homing and nerve regenerative abilities of MSCs in order to provide a better understanding of potential cell therapeutic applications of non-genetically engineered MSCs with the aid of nanotechnology.