Surface engineering of nanocarriers devotes considerable contribution to the field of biomedicine ranging from drug delivery to theranostic. Conventional chemical/physical approaches trend to use PEG functionalization, morphological control, and lipid modification, which allow nanocarriers participate various tasks in complex biological conditions. Although the in-vivo performance of nanocarries was improved by using these aforementioned methods, nanocarriers still suffer from drug delivery barrier caused by immune clearance, resulting in a low therapy efficacy. Furthermore, synthetic components of nanocarriers with undesired biocompatibility and biotoxicity also limits their biomedical applications. It is highly needed to develop biomimetic nanocarriers for the current drug delivery systems.
Recently, increase interest inspires that coating cell membranes on the surface of nanocarriers as a promising strategy can help address these issues. Cell membranes isolated from red blood cells are considered as the coating materials on the surface of nanocarriers. This novel bioimimetic hybrid system combines synthetic materials and naturally biological components, which breaks through the traditional concept of nanocarrier. By directly inheriting biological components of cell membrane (proteins, lipids, antigens), nanocarriers successfully achieve the immune-evasion and prolong the circulation time in the blood stream. To pursue functional diversity, some other cells, such as platelets, immune cells, cancer cells, and bacterium, contribute their membranes to cover nanocarriers for versatile properties (Image), including bioadhesion, target recognition, or deep tissue penetration. Compared with synthetic carriers, cell membrane-covered nanocarriers obviously improve their biocompatibility and get great efficiency to perform drug delivery, bioimaging, phototherapy, and detoxification. These above advantages indicate that cell membranes-inspired delivery systems will play an important role in the next-generation nanomedicine with extensive medical applications.
Prof. Junbai Li at Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, CAS Key Lab of Colloid, Interface and Chemical Thermodynamics, Institute of Chemistry?Chinese Academy of Sciences, heads an expertise biomaterial team that develop a series of cell membrane-camouflaged nanocarriers for cancer therapy ranging from drug delivery to photothermal therapy as well as photodynamic therapy. A recent review article published in National Science Review, Prof. Junbai Li's group reviews recent progress of cell membranes-covered nanoparticles from biomaterials perspective, and demonstrate their unique advantages and highlight relevant biomedical applications. The appearance of this review will help researchers of interdisciplinary science to understand cell membrane coating materials, and further promote the development in this field.