Human amniotic mesenchymal stromal cells (hAMSCs) as potential vehicles for drug delivery in cancer therapy: An in vitro study

Arianna Bonomi, Antonietta Silini, Elsa Vertua, Patrizia Bonassi Signoroni, Valentina Coccè, Loredana Cavicchini, Francesca Sisto, Giulio Alessandri, Augusto Pessina, Ornella Parolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: In the context of drug delivery, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from bone marrow and adipose tissue have emerged as interesting candidates due to their homing abilities and capacity to carry toxic loads, while at the same time being highly resistant to the toxic effects. Amongst the many sources of MSCs which have been identified, the human term placenta has attracted particular interest due to its unique, tissue-related characteristics, including its high cell yield and virtually absent expression of human leukocyte antigens and co-stimulatory molecules. Under basal, non-stimulatory conditions, placental MSCs also possess basic characteristics common to MSCs from other sources. These include the ability to secrete factors which promote cell growth and tissue repair, as well as immunomodulatory properties. The aim of this study was to investigate MSCs isolated from the amniotic membrane of human term placenta (hAMSCs) as candidates for drug delivery in vitro. Methods: We primed hAMSCs from seven different donors with paclitaxel (PTX) and investigated their ability to resist the cytotoxic effects of PTX, to upload the drug, and to release it over time. We then analyzed whether the uptake and release of PTX was sufficient to inhibit proliferation of CFPAC-1, a pancreatic tumor cell line sensitive to PTX. Results: For the first time, our study shows that hAMSCs are highly resistant to PTX and are not only able to uptake the drug, but also release it over time. Moreover, we show that PTX is released from hAMSCs in a sufficient amount to inhibit tumor cell proliferation, whilst some of the PTX is also retained within the cells. Conclusion: Taken together, for the first time our results show that placental stem cells can be used as vehicles for the delivery of cytotoxic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 28 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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