Erythrocytes, also known as red blood cells, have been extensively studied for their potential carrier capabilities for the delivery of drugs and drug-loaded microspheres. Such drug-loaded carrier erythrocytes are prepared simply by collecting blood samples from the organism of interest, separating erythrocytes from plasma, entrapping drug in the erythrocytes, and resealing the resultant cellular carriers. Hence, these carriers are called resealed erythrocytes. The overall process is based on the response of these cells under osmotic conditions. Upon reinjection, the drug-loaded erythrocytes serve as slow circulating depots and target the drugs to a reticuloendothelial system. These resealed erythrocytes are used for slow drug release, drug targeting actions like targeting the liver, reticuloendothelial system, etc., treatment of hepatic tumors, removal of toxic agents, delivery of antiviral agents, etc. The use of resealed erythrocytes looks promising for a safe and sure delivery of various drugs for passive and active targeting. I had discussed about source and isolation of erythrocytes, methods of drug loading, advantages of erythrocytes as drug carriers, in vitro and in vivo characterization, applications and novel approaches.
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