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Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Chemical Engineering

Advisor 1

Ching-An Peng

Committee Member 1

Adrienne Minerick

Committee Member 2

Lanrong Bi


Cancer therapeutic agents such as IL-2, IL-12 and TRAIL have been shown to have promising results in treating various tumor types including glioma and melanoma. The challenge remains in the delivery of the agents locally in a controllable manner. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged in the forefront of such applications. Recent developments in research have clearly demonstrated the affinity of the MSCs towards tumors and the possibility of engineering MSCs, using viral and non-viral vectors. Many studies made in the past decades focus on viral vectors due to their relatively high efficiency. However, more researchers are currently trying to modify non-viral vectors and increase their efficiency to have a safer and more effective method for gene delivery to MSCs. Nevertheless, the non-viral vectors studied to transfect MSCs are considered not effective enough and some also have cytotoxicity risks associated with them. In this study we first review the safety and efficiency of non-viral vectors used to genetically engineer MSCs for cancer therapy along with their application in cancer therapy. We synthesized and tested calcium alginate nanoparticles for gene delivery to mesenchymal stem cells. The size, morphology, transfection efficiency, and safety of the nanoparticles were studied using various qualification and quantification methods.