Red-blooded delivery device gets by body's defenses

After a few billion years in development, scientists are at last almost ready to unveil a new drug-delivery system that uses the membranes of red blood cells. It's biocompatible, it's efficient, and evolution has already conducted extensive trials. Researchers at the University of California at San Diego say this system is better than other nanoparticle drug-delivery devices because there is no need for a synthetic membrane. There is no better way to trick the body into believing the device belongs there if it is coated in a natural membrane.

Liangfang Zhang and colleagues filled the red blood cell membrane with a cocktail of anti-cancer drugs. According to the researchers, the device stayed inside the bodies of lab mice for nearly 72 hours.

It's the first time that scientists have combined a natural cell membrane with a synthetic nanoparticle for drug-delivery applications, Zhang said in a statement. "Such a nanoparticle platform will have little risk of immune response," he said.

Next, they'll add a targeting molecule so it can seek out and destroy only certain kinds of cancer cells.

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