Nanoparticles Evade the Body’s Immune System

October
2015

Tiny capsules loaded with drugs zip through the body until they find their target and then release their cargo to the injured site. Such drug-delivery systems would allow for more effective and safer treatment of a range of medical conditions by specifically targeting the damaged or diseased area without affecting healthy cells. However, evading the body’s immune system can be tricky.

The body has many defense mechanisms that are triggered when foreign entities are sensed. While those mechanisms are necessary to keep out unwanted organisms, such as certain bacteria and viruses, they make the delivery of drugs difficult — drugs must be disguised so that the body does not see them as foreign material.

Taking a cue from nature, engineers at the Univ. of California, San Diego, have devised a cloaking technique that coats drug-filled nanoparticles with the membranes of blood platelets. The platelet membrane coating disguises the drug-carrying particles, in effect hiding them from the body’s immune system. And, the platelets’ properties enable the nanoparticles to locate and attach to damaged cells and tissues...

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