Institute of Immunity and Transplantation


MSCTRAIL for lung cancer

Find out about Professor Mark Lowdell's research on MSC-TRAIL for lung cancer.

Lung cancer kills more men and women than any other cancer (UK: 34,000/year). MSCs specifically migrate and incorporate into tumours. They can be used for targeted delivery of anti-cancer therapies, including lung cancer. TRAIL is a cell surgace ligand which kills cancer cells, but not normal cells. The TRAIL encoding gene is readily transfected into MSCs which, in pre-clinical work, develop the ability to kill established lung cancer cells.

Human MSC gene-modified to express a molecule (TRAIL) which triggers death in cancer cells can be injected into mice with an established human lung tumour (blue luminescence). Those which received the MSC-TRAIL showed resolution of the tumour whereas it progressed in the control animals (courtesy of Professor Sam Janes).

Left: Human MSC /from bone marrow gene modified to express TRAIL (orange). Right: 4-D holographic image of Human MSC from bone marrow growing in culture.

The MRC is now funding a £2.9million clinical trial of MSC-TRAIL by our group. We will bring it to the first patients in late 2015. Over the next five years we will deliver a Phase I-II transitional trial to examine safety and anti-tumour activity of three doses of MSC-TRAIL in combination with the first-line chemotherapy in lung adenocarcinoma.

For this MRC funded MSC-TRAIL trial we will create the largest bank of gene modified cells in the world in the CCGTT using the XP200 bioreactor.