Bio-inspired, bioengineered and biomimetic drug delivery carriers

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2011 Jul 1;10(7):521-35. doi: 10.1038/nrd3499.


Synthetic carriers such as polymer and lipid particles often struggle to meet clinical expectations. Natural particulates - that range from pathogens to mammalian cells - are therefore worth examining in more depth, as they are highly optimized for their specific functions in vivo and possess features that are often desired in drug delivery carriers. With a better understanding of these biological systems, in conjunction with the availability of advanced biotechnology tools that are useful for re-engineering the various natural systems, researchers have started to exploit natural particulates for multiple applications in the delivery of proteins, small interfering RNA and other therapeutic agents. Here, we review the natural drug delivery carriers that have provided the basis and inspiration for new drug delivery systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bioengineering*
  • Biomimetic Materials*
  • Biomimetics
  • Blood Cells
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Nanoparticles
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage*
  • Stem Cells
  • Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle
  • Virosomes
  • Viruses / genetics


  • Drug Carriers
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Virus-Like Particle
  • Virosomes