In this article they discuss nanoparticles being able to deliver specific drug types; an example of this is chemotherapy to cancer cells. But to receive all of the benefits of the nanoparticles they need to get to the proper location; and pass through the immune system which automatically eliminates them because the nanoparticles are recognized as intruders. Normally nanoparticles are captured and removed from the body in a matter of minutes, but with the membrane coating, they can survive for ours unharmed as they blend in with their surroundings.
"Our cloaking strategy prevents the binding of opsonins (Opsonins: a constituent of normal or immune blood serum that makes invading bacteria more susceptible to the destructive action of the phagocytes) -- signaling proteins that activate the immune system," said Department of Medicine Co-Chair Ennio Tasciotti, Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator.
Tasciotti and his associates took active Leukocyte (white blood cells) and created a new procedure that separates the membrane from the rest of the cell. By covering the nanoparticles with the intact membranes in their native composition of lipids and proteins, the scientists successfully created the very nanoparticles that can carry drugs but look and act like normal cells, which they call Leukolike Vectors.
"Using the membranes of white blood cells to coat a nanoparticle has never been done before," Tasciotti said. "LLVs are half man-made -- the synthetic silicon core -- and half made of man -- the cell membrane."
But the researcher’s success in this leads to another important question, can they create a membrane by synthetic means?
And Tasciotti responds to this saying "Being able to use synthetic membranes or artificially-created membrane is definitely something we are planning for the future." "But for now, using our white blood cells is the most…