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Exosome-based nanocarriers as bio-inspired and versatile vehicles for drug delivery: recent advances and challenges

Zhang, Mengjun, Zang, Xinlong, Wang, Mingyue, Li, Zhen, Qiao, Mingxi, Hu, Haiyang, Chen, Dawei
Journal of materials chemistry B 2019 v.7 no.15 pp. 2421-2433
biocompatibility, drugs, encapsulation, exosomes, gene transfer, genes, immunogenicity, lipids, nanocarriers, neoplasms, proteins
Recent decades have witnessed the fast and impressive development of nanocarriers as a drug delivery system. Considering the safety, delivery efficiency and stability of nanocarriers, there are many obstacles in accomplishing successful clinical translation of these nanocarrier-based drug delivery systems. The gap has urged drug delivery scientists to develop innovative nanocarriers with high compatibility, stability and longer circulation time. Exosomes are nanometer-sized, lipid-bilayer-enclosed extracellular vesicles secreted by many types of cells. Exosomes serving as versatile drug vehicles have attracted increasing attention due to their inherent ability of shuttling proteins, lipids and genes among cells and their natural affinity to target cells. Attractive features of exosomes, such as nanoscopic size, low immunogenicity, high biocompatibility, encapsulation of various cargoes and the ability to overcome biological barriers, distinguish them from other nanocarriers. To date, exosome-based nanocarriers delivering small molecule drugs as well as bioactive macromolecules have been developed for the treatment of many prevalent and obstinate diseases including cancer, CNS disorders and some other degenerative diseases. Exosome-based nanocarriers have a huge prospect in overcoming many hindrances encountered in drug and gene delivery. This review highlights the advances as well as challenges of exosome-based nanocarriers as drug vehicles. Special focus has been placed on the advantages of exosomes in delivering various cargoes and in treating obstinate diseases, aiming to offer new insights for exploring exosomes in the field of drug delivery.