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Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived exosomes as novel vehicles for delivery of miRNAs in cancer therapy

Abstract

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are known as promising sources for cancer therapy and can be utilized as vehicles in cancer gene therapy. MSC-derived exosomes are central mediators in the therapeutic functions of MSCs, known as the novel cell-free alternatives to MSC-based cell therapy. MSC-derived exosomes show advantages including higher safety as well as more stability and convenience for storage, transport and administration compared to MSCs transplant therapy. Unmodified MSC-derived exosomes can promote or inhibit tumors while modified MSC-derived exosomes are involved in the suppression of cancer development and progression via the delivery of several therapeutics molecules including chemotherapeutic drugs, miRNAs, anti-miRNAs, specific siRNAs, and suicide gene mRNAs. In most malignancies, dysregulation of miRNAs not only occurs as a consequence of cancer progression but also is directly involved during tumor initiation and development due to their roles as oncogenes (oncomiRs) or tumor suppressors (TS-miRNAs). MiRNA restoration is usually achieved by overexpression of TS-miRNAs using synthetic miRNA mimics and viral vectors or even downregulation of oncomiRs using anti-miRNAs. Similar to other therapeutic molecules, the efficacy of miRNAs restoration in cancer therapy depends on the effectiveness of the delivery system. In the present review, we first provided an overview of the properties and potentials of MSCs in cancer therapy as well as the application of MSC-derived exosomes in cancer therapy. Finally, we specifically focused on harnessing the MSC-derived exosomes for the aim of miRNA delivery in cancer therapy.

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Fig. 1: The role of modified and unmodified MSC-derived exosomes in cancer development.

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Sohrabi, B., Dayeri, B., Zahedi, E. et al. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-derived exosomes as novel vehicles for delivery of miRNAs in cancer therapy. Cancer Gene Ther 29, 1105–1116 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41417-022-00427-8

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