Disguising nanoparticles as red blood cells will enable them to evade the body”s immune system and deliver cancer-fighting drugs straight to a tumor, according to a new research.
The novel method developed by the researchers at the University of California, San Diego, involves collecting the membrane from a red blood cell and wrapping it like a powerful camouflaging cloak around a biodegradable polymer nanoparticle stuffed with a cocktail of small molecule drugs.
“This is the first work that combines the natural cell membrane with a synthetic nanoparticle for drug delivery applications.” said Liangfang Zhang, a nanoeningeering professor at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and Moores UCSD Cancer Center.
“This nanoparticle platform will have little risk of immune response,” he added.
Using the body”s own red blood cells marks a significant shift in focus and a major breakthrough in the field of personalized drug delivery research.
Zhang said being able to deliver multiple drugs in a single nanoparticle is important because cancer cells can develop a resistance to drugs delivered individually.
By combining them, and giving the nanoparticle the ability to target cancer cells, the whole cocktail can be dropped like a bomb from within the cancer cell.
The research will be published in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.