Photosensitizer Decorated Red Blood Cells as an Ultra-Sensitive Light-Responsive Drug Delivery System.

Research paper by Min M Gao, Aiyan A Hu, Xiaoqi X Sun, Chao C Wang, Ziliang Z Dong, Liangzhu L Feng, Zhuang Z Liu

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces


Red blood cells (RBCs), the most abundant type of cells in our blood, have shown promises as a natural drug delivery system (DDS) with inherent biocompatibility. Herein, we uncover that a photosensitizer, chlorin e6 (Ce6), could be decorated into the membrane of RBCs upon simple mixing, without affecting the membrane integrity and stability in dark. Upon light irradiation with a rather low power density, the generated singlet oxygen by Ce6 as the result of photodynamic effect would lead to rather efficient disruption of RBC membrane. With doxorubicin (DOX), a typical chemotherapy drug, as the model, we engineer a unique type of light-responsive RBC-based DDS by decorating Ce6 on the cell membrane and loading DOX inside cells. The light triggered cell membrane break down would thus trigger instant release of DOX, enabling light-controlled chemotherapy with great specificity. Beyond that, our RBC system could also be utilized for loading of larger biomolecules such as enzymes, whose release as well as catalytic function is also controlled by light. Our work thus presents a unique type of biocompatible cell-based DDS that can be precisely controlled by mild external stimuli, promising not only for cancer therapy but also for other potential applications in biotechnologies.