Extracellular vesicles could be personalized drug delivery vehicles

ScienceDaily | 3/12/2018 | Staff
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Nanovesicles are tiny sacs released by cells that carry chemical messages between cells. These nanovesicles are natural delivery vehicle and useful in drug delivery for cancer treatment.

"Currently, natural nanovesicles can be harvested from cell culture supernatant (the fluid surrounding cultured cells) and they are fillable," said Yuan Wan, postdoctoral fellow in biomedical engineering, Penn State. "However, there are two problems using them for cancer treatment. There aren't enough nanovesicles produced in short timescales and they do not have targeting effect."

Researchers - Approach - Platform - Amounts - Nanovesicles

The researchers developed an approach and platform to create large amounts of fillable and targeted nanovesicles. They report their results in a recent issue of Cancer Research.

To create targeted nanovesicles, ligands -- perhaps short pieces of protein -- need to be attached to the nanovesicle wall so they can recognize tumor cells. The process for making targeted nanovesicles now requires using viruses to insert relevant DNA fragments into the genome of the donor cells and then collecting ligand-bearing nanovesicles released from the gene-modified cells.

Yuan - Si-Yang - Zheng - Professor - Engineering

Yuan, working with Si-Yang Zheng, associated professor of biomedical engineering, developed a simpler and faster method for attaching ligands. The researchers chemically graft the lipid-tagged ligands onto the cell membrane. They do this before they pass the cells through a sieve, which converts the cell membranes into millions of vesicles bearing ligands that can be filled with an appropriate drug to target the cancer.

"Pushing the cells through a filter is the engineered way to produce lots of nanovesicles," said Zheng.

Researchers - Immune - Cells - Nanovesicles - Laboratory

The researchers used mouse autologous immune cells and created the ligand-targeted, fillable nanovesicles in the laboratory. They then...
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