Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems have been designed to treat various diseases. However, many problems remain, such as inadequate tumor targeting and poor therapeutic outcomes. To overcome these obstacles, cell-based drug delivery systems have been developed. Candidates for cell-mediated drug delivery include blood cells, immune cells, and stem cells with innate tumor tropism and low immunogenicity; they act as a disguise to deliver the therapeutic payload. In drug delivery systems, therapeutic agents are encapsulated intracellularly or attached to the surface of the plasma membrane and transported to the desired site. Researchers from Chung-Ang University, Korea discuss the pros and cons of cell-based therapies and discuss their homing mechanisms in the tumor microenvironment. In addition, different strategies to load therapeutic agents inside or on the surface of circulating cells and the current applications for a wide range of disease treatments are summarized.
Scheme of living cell-based drug delivery systems