Exosome-Mimetic Nanovesicles for Targeted Delivery of Chemotherapeutics

Exosomes, the endogenous nanocarriers that can deliver biological information between cells, were recently introduced as new kind of drug delivery system. However, mammalian cells release relatively low quantities of exosomes, and purification of exosomes is difficult.

Here, researchers at the Pohang University of Science and Technology, Republic of Korea have developed bioinspired exosome-mimetic nanovesicles that deliver chemotherapeutics to the tumor tissue after systemic administration. The chemotherapeutics-loaded nanovesicles were produced by the breakdown of monocytes or macrophages using a serial extrusion through filters with diminishing pore sizes (10, 5, and 1 μm). These cell-derived nanovesicles have similar characteristics with the exosomes but have 100-fold higher production yield. Furthermore, the nanovesicles have natural targeting ability of cells by maintaining the topology of plasma membrane proteins. In vitro, chemotherapeutic drug-loaded nanovesicles induced TNF-α-stimulated endothelial cell death in a dose-dependent manner. In vivo, experiments in mice showed that the chemotherapeutic drug-loaded nanovesicles traffic to tumor tissue and reduce tumor growth without the adverse effects observed with equipotent free drug. Furthermore, compared with doxorubicin-loaded exosomes, doxorubicin-loaded nanovesicles showed similar in vivo antitumor activity. However, doxorubicin-loaded liposomes that did not carry targeting proteins were inefficient in reducing tumor growth. Importantly, removal of the plasma membrane proteins by trypsinization eliminated the therapeutic effects of the nanovesicles both in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, these studies suggest that the bioengineered nanovesicles can serve as novel exosome-mimetics to effectively deliver chemotherapeutics to treat malignant tumors.

  • Jang SC, Kim OY, Yoon CM, Choi DS, Roh TY, Park J, Nilsson J, Lötvall J, Kim YK, Gho YS. (2013) Bioinspired Exosome-Mimetic Nanovesicles for Targeted Delivery of Chemotherapeutics to Malignant Tumors. ACS Nano [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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