(Image credit: UPenn Muzykantov Lab) (Image credit: UPenn Muzykantov Lab)

U Penn researchers developing new ways to transport drugs to specific targets


A new drug-delivery technology uses red blood cells to shuttle nano-scale drug carriers to precisely to selected organs.

A new drug-delivery technology which uses red blood cells (RBCs) to shuttle nano-scale drug carriers, called RBC-hitchhiking (RH), has been found in animal models to dramatically increase the concentration of drugs ferried precisely to selected organs, according to a study published in Nature Communications this month by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine. This proof-of-principle study points to ways to improve drug delivery for some of the nation’s biggest killers, such as acute lung disease, stroke, and heart attack.

“Red blood cells are a particularly attractive carrier due to their biocompatibility and known safety in transfusions,” said senior author Vladimir Muzykantov, a professor of systems pharmacology and translational therapeutics. “In just a few short years since we began this work, we are now on the brink of mapping out ways to test it in clinical trials.”

Visible Legacy Comment

This technology for drug delivery using red blood cell hitchhiking is presented on the UPenn OTL Site as a COVID-19 related technology. Tech Scouts seeking solutions for targeted drug delivery from academic research should look at the research in the Muzykantov Lab including the more recent disclosure "Targeted drug delivery using red-blood cells for transport".