Strategies to achieve systemic delivery of therapeutic cells and microbes to tumors

Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2007 Jan;7(1):41-51. doi: 10.1517/14712598.7.1.41.


In order to more effectively treat cancer, targeted delivery of therapeutic agents will be needed. The creation of delivery vehicles capable of locating and entering tumors before delivering a therapeutic payload will, therefore, enable the design of more beneficial and less toxic treatment platforms. Although nanoparticles, microbubbles and liposomes may also partially address these issues, the use of biological agents as delivery vehicles presently holds much promise. Through the hijacking of natural pathogen or cell trafficking pathways it is possible to actively target such agents to the tumor; they are then capable of selective replication (multiplying their therapeutic potential) and may be directly cytolytic themselves and/or may be utilized to deliver therapeutic genes. These agents, such as oncolytic viruses, attenuated bacteria and eukaryotic cells (cellular immunotherapeutics and progenitor and stem cells) will be discussed along with the mechanisms employed to deliver them systemically to tumors, including disseminated disease and micrometsastases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Oncolytic Virotherapy / methods*