In a recent issue of the journal Advanced Biological Systems, researchers at McMaster University present a new technique that binds normal red blood cells to drug molecules and transports them to the body’s target site. Fundamentally, the body’s immune system actively searches for and destroys non-endogenous compounds, so the effectiveness of drug particles is often limited. The technology could dramatically improve the effectiveness of drugs that want to be delivered precisely and worry about being intercepted by the immune system.
Screenshot of the study (from: Advanced Biosystems, via New Atlas)
One way to escape the body’s natural defenses is to hide therapeutic molecules in cells, just as they hide threats in Trojan horses. Red blood cells are one of the richest in the human body and have previously been shown to be an ideal effective vector.
But in the journal Advanced Biological Systems, researchers at McMaster University describe a fascinating new approach. By hollowing out red blood cells and backfilling synthetic liposomes, experiments have shown that they are likely to encapsulate many different types of drug molecules.
“We call these ‘superhuman red blood cells’ as perfect vectors for stealth drugs by bypassing the body’s immune system,” said Maikel Rheinst?dter, a senior consultant in the study.
McMaster Design Super-Human Red Blood Cells (via)
The new study also provides proof of concept of how these hybrid molecules can be specifically designed, although other target systems may need to be further refined to help the molecules reach the target point.
It is assumed that hybrid red blood cells can effectively circulate in the body for weeks. For researchers, this approach is fast and effective without wasting a lot of time.
“By combining synthetic and biomaterials, we have created a new structure that has never been seen before,” explains Sebastian Himbert, a researcher. The whole process is very efficient and can be done in one day in the lab.”
It should be noted that the study is still in its infancy and that animal studies have not yet confirmed the behavior of hybrid red blood cells in living organisms.