Theranostics 2015; 5(8):863-881. doi:10.7150/thno.11852


Cell or Cell Membrane-Based Drug Delivery Systems

Songwei Tan1,2,3, Tingting Wu1, Dan Zhang1, Zhiping Zhang1,2,3,✉

1. Tongji School of Pharmacy;
2. National Engineering Research Center for Nanomedicine;
3. Hubei Engineering Research Center for Novel DDS, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, P R China


Natural cells have been explored as drug carriers for a long period. They have received growing interest as a promising drug delivery system (DDS) until recently along with the development of biology and medical science. The synthetic materials, either organic or inorganic, are found to be with more or less immunogenicity and/or toxicity. The cells and extracellular vesicles (EVs), are endogenous and thought to be much safer and friendlier. Furthermore, in view of their host attributes, they may achieve different biological effects and/or targeting specificity, which can meet the needs of personalized medicine as the next generation of DDS. In this review, we summarized the recent progress in cell or cell membrane-based DDS and their fabrication processes, unique properties and applications, including the whole cells, EVs and cell membrane coated nanoparticles. We expect the continuing development of this cell or cell membrane-based DDS will promote their clinic applications.

Keywords: drug delivery system, nanoparticle, cell membrane, extracellular vesicle, tumor

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How to cite this article:
Tan S, Wu T, Zhang D, Zhang Z. Cell or Cell Membrane-Based Drug Delivery Systems. Theranostics 2015; 5(8):863-881. doi:10.7150/thno.11852. Available from