Blood Cells: The Future of Drug Delivery

From red blood cells to platelets, the cells in our own blood could prove an effective way of delivering drugs to their target and improving their safety.

Many pharmaceutical drugs in the market come with side effects that generally arise from their effects on parts of the body other than their intended target. Even when a drug is beneficial, strong side effects can lead to a patient skipping doses or abandoning the drug regimen completely.

Drug delivery systems are the holy grail of precision medicine, seeking to reduce these off-target effects. However, drug delivery systems such as synthetic nanocarriers or lipid nanoparticles continue to run into challenges regarding preventing unwanted immune responses to the carrier and implementing mechanisms to release the drug in a controlled way.

Recent work suggests that a better alternative lies in the most abundant cells in our bodies: blood cells. In particular, red blood cells and platelets show promise in this area. Unlike most of our cells, they do not carry genetic material,

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