Engineering of extracellular vesicles as drug delivery vehicles
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are secreted membrane-enclosed nano-sized particles (40–1,000 nm) that deliver biological information between cells. The molecular composition of these subcellular particles includes growth factor receptors, ligands adhesion proteins, mRNA, miRNAs, lncRNA and lipids that are derived from donor cells. A number of studies demonstrated that stem cell-derived EVs are the key mediator of tissue repair and regeneration in multiple animal disease models. In addition, the composition of these particles is known to be altered in cancer and disease pathology suggesting them for useful in diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Their endogenous origin and biological properties offer benefits over conventional drug delivery systems (DDS), such as liposome, synthetic nanoparticles and prompted the further application of EVs as drug delivery vehicles for chemical drugs, genetic materials and proteins. The contents of EVs can be efficiently modified by chemical, biological or physical means. Thus, EVs can be an innovative DDS as it can overcome physical and biological barriers and safely deliver therapeutic drugs to target tissues. In this minireview, we summarized current progress on the strategies of drug loading onto EVs; ex vivo and in vivo loading.