With the ever-increasing burden of kidney disease, the need for developing new therapeutics to manage this disease has never been greater. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural membranous nanoparticles present in virtually all organisms. Given their excellent delivery capacity in the body, EVs have emerged as a frontier technology for drug delivery and have the potential to usher in a new era of nanomedicine for kidney disease. This review is focused on why EVs are such compelling drug carriers and how to release their fullest potentiality in renal therapeutics. We discuss the unique features of EVs compared to artificial nanoparticles and outline the engineering technologies and steps in developing EV-based therapeutics, with an emphasis on the emerging approaches to target renal cells and prolong kidney retention. We also explore the applications of EVs as natural therapeutics or as drug carriers in the treatment of renal disorders and present our views on the critical challenges in manufacturing EVs as next-generation renal therapeutics.
Keywords: Acute kidney injury; Chronic kidney disease; Drug delivery; Extracellular vesicles; Mesenchymal stem cells.
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