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Human dental pulp stem cells expressing suicide genes as a novel therapeutic approach for oral squamous cell carcinoma.

The envisaged research described in this project concerns a fundamental scientific approach towards the development of a novel stem cell-based therapy for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), currently the 8th most common form of cancer in the developed world. Nowadays, patients suffering from OSCC are treated by surgical resection of the tumor mass combined with adjuvant radio- and/or chemotherapy. Despite significant improvements in the survival rate of treated OSCC patients, the quality of life is vigorously affected which undeniably shows the need for a more effective and less invasive therapeutic approach. We hypothesize that intra-tumoral delivery of stem cells expressing therapeutic genes might provide a promising alternative approach coping with most adverse aspects of current treatment modalities. Therefore, we will explore the use of dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) as carriers of a suicide gene to selectively target and kill tumor cells by the bystander effect. First, we will investigate this interaction in vitro in order to provide a fundamental understanding of the mechanistic effect of the proposed therapy. Subsequently, an indepth study of the therapy in vivo will be performed together with the optimization of non-invasive monitoring of therapeutic success using imaging modalities such as MRI, BLI and PET. In general, the outcome of this project will provide a solid understanding of the efficacy of the proposed cellbased therapy for OSCC. It will therefore serve as a pioneering study for subsequent preclinical and clinical studies.

Date:1 Jan 2014  →  31 Dec 2017
Keywords:Stem cells, Human dental pulp