Stem cell-based therapies for tumors in the brain: are we there yet?

Neuro Oncol. 2016 Aug;18(8):1066-78. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/now096. Epub 2016 Jun 9.


Advances in understanding adult stem cell biology have facilitated the development of novel cell-based therapies for cancer. Recent developments in conventional therapies (eg, tumor resection techniques, chemotherapy strategies, and radiation therapy) for treating both metastatic and primary tumors in the brain, particularly glioblastoma have not resulted in a marked increase in patient survival. Preclinical studies have shown that multiple stem cell types exhibit inherent tropism and migrate to the sites of malignancy. Recent studies have validated the feasibility potential of using engineered stem cells as therapeutic agents to target and eliminate malignant tumor cells in the brain. This review will discuss the recent progress in the therapeutic potential of stem cells for tumors in the brain and also provide perspectives for future preclinical studies and clinical translation.

Keywords: brain tumors; glioblastoma (GBM); receptors; stem cells; therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Glioblastoma / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*