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Synthetic nanoparticles functionalized with biomimetic leukocyte membranes possess cell-like functions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alessandro Parodi, Nicoletta Quattrocchi, Anne L. Van De Ven, Ciro Chiappini, Michael Evangelopoulos, Jonathan O. Martinez, Brandon S. Brown, Sm Z. Khaled, Iman K. Yazdi, Maria Vittoria Enzo, Lucas Isenhart, Mauro Ferrari, Ennio Tasciotti

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-68
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number1
Early online date16 Dec 2012
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2012


King's Authors


The therapeutic efficacy of systemic drug-delivery vehicles depends on their ability to evade the immune system, cross the biological barriers of the body and localize at target tissues. White blood cells of the immune system—known as leukocytes—possess all of these properties and exert their targeting ability through cellular membrane interactions. Here, we show that nanoporous silicon particles can successfully perform all these actions when they are coated with cellular membranes purified from leukocytes. These hybrid particles, called leukolike vectors, can avoid being cleared by the immune system. Furthermore, they can communicate with endothelial cells through receptor–ligand interactions, and transport and release a payload across an inflamed reconstructed endothelium. Moreover, leukolike vectors retained their functions when injected in vivo, showing enhanced circulation time and improved accumulation in a tumour.

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