The idea of using extracellular vesicles (EVs) for targeted drug delivery was first introduced in 2011 and has since then gained increasing attention as promising new candidates in the field. Targeting EVs to areas of disease can be achieved through a complex process of designing and inserting a targeting ligand to the surface of the EVs. Although this can be obtained via chemical conjugation, the most important strategy has been to transfect or modulate the EV-producing cell to endow the EVs with the desired targeting capabilities. However, since EVs are harvested from biological sources, their composition is highly heterogeneous, which makes it difficult to control the purity and quality of the resulting EV-based drug delivery vehicles. In this review, we present a detailed account of EVs in targeted drug delivery based on a systematic literature search. Researchers from Aalborg University and the Technical University of Denmark discuss the potential advantages of EVs compared to synthetic lipid-based nanocarriers, and the methodological and biological limitations associated with their use as targeted drug delivery vehicles.
Gudbergsson JM, Jønsson K, Simonsen JB, Johnsen KB. (2019) Targeted extracellular vesicles for drug delivery – Considerations on methodological and biological heterogeneity. J Control Release [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]