Poor tumor targeting of oncolytic adenoviruses (OAdv) after systemic administration is considered a major limitation for virotherapy of disseminated cancers. The benefit of using mesenchymal stem cells as cell carriers for OAdv tumor targeting is currently evaluated not only in preclinical models but also in clinical trials. In this context, we have previously demonstrated the enhanced antitumor efficacy of OAdv-loaded menstrual blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MenSCs). However, although significant, the antitumor efficacy obtained was modest, and we hypothesized that a greater antitumor efficacy could be obtained arming the OAdv with a therapeutic transgene. Here we show that combining MenSCs with ICOVIR15-cBiTE, an OAdv expressing an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-targeting bispecific T-cell engager (cBiTE), enhances the antitumor efficacy compared to MenSCs loaded with the unarmed virus ICOVIR15. We found that MenSCs properly produce cBiTE after viral infection leading to a greater antitumor potency both in vitro and in vivo. These findings indicate the mutual benefit of combining MenSCs and armed OAdv and support the combination of ICOVIR15-cBiTE and MenSCs as a cancer treatment.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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We thank CERCA Program/Generalitat de Catalunya for their institutional support. The authors also thank Dolores Ramos and Silvia Torres for their lab technical support and Vanessa Cervera for samples processing. This work was supported by the Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer, BIO2017-897554-C2-1-R grant to R. Alemany from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of Spain, Adenonet BIO2015-68990-REDT to R. Alemany from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of Spain, Red ADVANCE(CAT) project COMRDI15-1-0013 to R. Alemany from Ris3CAT and 2017SGR449 research grant to RA from the ‘Generalitat de Catalunya’. Cofunded by the European Regional Development Fund, a way to Build Europe to RA.