Lung cancer is the most lethal cancer in the world today. There are limited options for clinicians when treating patients, with only 10-15% of lung cancer patients surviving their malignancy. Despite the introduction of new chemotherapies, lung cancer survival is unchanged from thirty years ago. New ways of treating this disease are needed. We hypothesise that modified mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may be used to deliver magnetic nanoparticles through their engraftment, killing both tumour epithelium and tumour vasculature, while preserving normal tissue. We propose to introduce bio-compatible tailored magnetic nanoparticles into the MSCs to enable localised cellular-level sensing and heating while retaining the full viability and functionality of the MSCs. We will examine the kinetics of MSC engraftment and compare histological samples to in vivo quantification of engraftment using contrast-enhanced small animal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based on sensing the MRI signal of the introduced nanoparticles. MSCs will subsequently be locally heated by applying a time-varying electromagnetic field to induce heating of the nanoparticles (a process similar in principle to that used in microwave ovens) and consequent tumour destruction. MSC delivered therapy is particularly attractive. MSCs are easy to culture, expand and genetically manipulate. They are immuno-privileged, and also home preferentially to tumour tissues allowing systemic delivery to widespread tumour and metastases. As such they offer a uniquely bio-compatible, patient-derived therapeutic solution to the life-threatening disease of lung cancer.
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