Cryo-shocked Cells as Pay-load

Have you imagined dead cells as a drug carrier?

Scientists are exploring various modalities to deliver the drug – we have seen antibody conjugated drugs, lipid formulations, gold nanoparticles, microneedles, hydrogels, and many more. 

A more straightforward method is using dead cancer cells to deliver the cancer drug. You may have a question, how the dead cells will act as a carrier.

  • Is it safe to use dead cells?
  • Can it hold the drug?
  • Does it release the drug for a prolonged period?
  • Is it more efficient than the existing methods?
  • Does it express any proteins?
  • How do the dead cells determine the targeted delivery of drugs?

Most of the above questions were answered from the recent article published in science. The principle is straightforward in using cells as carriers, which has a natural attraction towards bone marrow. But the question is, how will the dead cell retain the cell integrity to carry the payload.

Dr. Zhen Gu and team immersed the cells rapidly in liquid nitrogen, thereby losing the tumorigenicity while preserving the cell structure’s integrity. Retaining the expression of CD44 and CXCR4 is the driving force on the dead cells that determine the homing towards bone marrow. Surprising, isn’t it.

The cryo-shocked cells successfully delivered Doxorubucin to treat Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and served as a cancer vaccine vehicle to promote antitumor immune responses.

We may see this as a potential clinical therapeutic strategy in the future. Before that, we got to answer the below questions:

  • We have to see how this method reciprocated in treating solid tumors
  • Efficacy over other delivery methods
  • Possibility of using patient-derived cells
  • Safety in humans