Non-genetic engineering of cells for drug delivery and cell-based therapy

Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2015 Aug 30;91:125-40. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2014.12.003. Epub 2014 Dec 24.


Cell-based therapy is a promising modality to address many unmet medical needs. In addition to genetic engineering, material-based, biochemical, and physical science-based approaches have emerged as novel approaches to modify cells. Non-genetic engineering of cells has been applied in delivering therapeutics to tissues, homing of cells to the bone marrow or inflammatory tissues, cancer imaging, immunotherapy, and remotely controlling cellular functions. This new strategy has unique advantages in disease therapy and is complementary to existing gene-based cell engineering approaches. A better understanding of cellular systems and different engineering methods will allow us to better exploit engineered cells in biomedicine. Here, we review non-genetic cell engineering techniques and applications of engineered cells, discuss the pros and cons of different methods, and provide our perspectives on future research directions.

Keywords: Cancer; Cell engineering; Immunotherapy; Nanoparticle; Therapeutic delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Engineering / methods*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / methods*
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy / methods