A fundamental reason for the failure of many potential therapies for glioblastoma (GBM) is the infiltrative manner in which GBM cells grow, resulting in recurrence. Previous studies (funded by the BSF) indicate that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) represent a potential cell based delivery system for therapeutic agents. Lata Menon, PhD, has developed a therapeutic approach to modify MSCs to secrete therapeutic proteins.
MSC exhibit homing property enabling their migration to sites of tumor. Identifying the factors mediating MSC migration will be helpful to achieve enhanced tumor targeting and secretion of drug at the target location, thereby increasing the therapeutic efficacy.
In 2010, Dr. Menon will investigate and identify the signals that influence or/and recruit MSC towards gliomas. A better understanding of the factors that govern and stimulate tumor-specific MSC migration will thus provide potential information for tumor specific targeting. Unraveling the mechanisms that allow MSC to migrate towards the infiltrate tumor cells may provide identification of novel therapeutic targets for enhanced site specific MSC migration. This is a novel treatment approach for a disease in which outcomes are exceptionally poor and options are limited. Only by developing innovative therapeutic approaches such as this will we improve survival and quality-of-life for patients with this devastating neoplasm.