A prodrug-doped cellular Trojan Horse for the potential treatment of prostate cancer

Biomaterials. 2016 Jun;91:140-150. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2016.03.023. Epub 2016 Mar 17.


Despite considerable advances in prostate cancer research, there is a major need for a systemic delivery platform that efficiently targets anti-cancer drugs to sites of disseminated prostate cancer while minimizing host toxicity. In this proof-of-principle study, human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were loaded with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles (MPs) that encapsulate the macromolecule G114, a thapsigargin-based prostate specific antigen (PSA)-activated prodrug. G114-particles (∼950 nm in size) were internalized by MSCs, followed by the release of G114 as an intact prodrug from loaded cells. Moreover, G114 released from G114 MP-loaded MSCs selectively induced death of the PSA-secreting PCa cell line, LNCaP. Finally, G114 MP-loaded MSCs inhibited tumor growth when used in proof-of-concept co-inoculation studies with CWR22 PCa xenografts, suggesting that cell-based delivery of G114 did not compromise the potency of this pro-drug in-vitro or in-vivo. This study demonstrates a potentially promising approach to assemble a cell-based drug delivery platform, which inhibits cancer growth in-vivo without the need of genetic engineering. We envision that upon achieving efficient homing of systemically infused MSCs to cancer sites, this MSC-based platform may be developed into an effective, systemic 'Trojan Horse' therapy for targeted delivery of therapeutic agents to sites of metastatic PCa.

Keywords: Cell-based drug delivery; Prostate cancer; Stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / chemistry
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mice, Nude
  • Polyglycolic Acid / chemistry
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Prodrugs / administration & dosage*
  • Prodrugs / therapeutic use
  • Prostate / drug effects
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Prodrugs
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen