Artificial Cells: Building Bioinspired Systems Using Small-Scale Biology

Trends Biotechnol. 2008 Jan;26(1):14-20. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2007.09.006. Epub 2007 Nov 26.


Artificial cells have generated much interest since the concept was introduced by Aleksandr Oparin in the 1920s, and they have had an impact on the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in various areas, including potential therapeutic applications. Here, we discuss the development of small-scale, bio-inspired artificial cell components that recreate the function of key cellular and physiological systems. We describe artificial cells, selected current applications and how small-scale biology could be used to provide what might be a next-generation approach in this area. We believe that this type of work is in its infancy and that exploiting small-scale biological inspiration in the field of artificial cells has great potential for successes in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Biology / methods*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Cell Survival
  • Drug Delivery Systems