Erythrocytes (RBCs) have potential carrier capabilities for the delivery of drugs. Erythrocytes are biocompatible, biodegradable, possess long circulation half lives, and can be loaded with a variety of biologically active compounds using various chemical and physical methods.
Erythrocytes have been extensively studied for their potential carrier capabilities for the delivery of drugs and drug-loaded microspheres. Such drug-loaded carrier erythrocytes are simply prepared by collecting blood samples from the interested organism, separating erythrocytes from plasma, entrapping drug in 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 (RES).
Resealed erythrocytes have applications in fields of human and veterinary medicine.
>Such cells could be used as circulating carriers to disseminate a drug within a prolonged period of time in circulation or in target-specific organs, including the liver, spleen, and lymph nodes.
>A majority of the drug delivery studies using drug-loaded erythrocytes are in the preclinical phase. Antineoplastic drugs such as methotrexate, bleomycin, asparginase and adriamycin have been successfully delivered by erythrocytes.
>Removal of RES iron overload, Removal of toxic agents and Delivery of antiviral agents are some other applications of resealed erythrocytes.
Biopharmaceuticals, therapeutically significant peptides and proteins, nucleic acid-based biologicals, antigens and vaccines, are among the recently focused pharmaceuticals for being delivered using carrier erythrocytes.