Current status and challenges of stem cell-based therapy for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme

Banafshe Abadi, Meysam Ahmadi-Zeidabadi, Luciana Dini, Cristian Vergallo
Hematology/oncology and Stem Cell Therapy 2020 September 16
Glioblastoma (GB) is one of the most malignant types of central nervous system tumours, classified as grade IV by the World Health Organization. Despite the therapeutic advances, the prognosis is ominous, with a median survival of about 12-15 months post diagnosis. Although therapeutic options available can increase the survival, they are ineffective in treating patients with GB. Impairing factors such as the blood-brain barrier, cancer stem cells, and infiltration into brain parenchyma lead to failure of current therapies. Therefore, clinicians need novel/alternative effective strategies to treat GB. Due to their ability to preserve healthy tissues and to provide an effective and long-lasting response, stem cells (SCs) with tropism for tumour cells have attracted considerable attention in the scientific community. As is the case here, SCs can be used to target brain tumour cancer cells, especially high-grade malignant gliomas like GB, by overcoming the resistance and exerting benefits for patients affected with such lethal disease. Herein, we will discuss the research knowledge regarding SC-based therapy for the treatment of GB, focalising our attention on SCs and SC-released extracellular vesicles modified to express/load different antitumour payloads, as well as on SCs exploited as a diagnostic tool. Advantages and unresolved issues of anticancer SC-based therapy will also be considered.

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