Theranostics 2021; 11(7):3183-3195. doi:10.7150/thno.52570


Engineering exosomes for targeted drug delivery

Yujie Liang1,2, Li Duan3, Jianping Lu1,✉, Jiang Xia2,✉

1. Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Shenzhen Kangning Hospital, Shenzhen Mental Health Center, Shenzhen Key Laboratory for Psychological Healthcare & Shenzhen Institute of Mental Health, Shenzhen, 518020, China
2. Department of Chemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong SAR, China
3. Department of Orthopedics, Shenzhen Second People's Hospital (First Affiliated Hospital of Shenzhen University, Health Science Center), Shenzhen 518035, China

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Liang Y, Duan L, Lu J, Xia J. Engineering exosomes for targeted drug delivery. Theranostics 2021; 11(7):3183-3195. doi:10.7150/thno.52570. Available from

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Exosomes are cell-derived nanovesicles that are involved in the intercellular transportation of materials. Therapeutics, such as small molecules or nucleic acid drugs, can be incorporated into exosomes and then delivered to specific types of cells or tissues to realize targeted drug delivery. Targeted delivery increases the local concentration of therapeutics and minimizes side effects. Here, we present a detailed review of exosomes engineering through genetic and chemical methods for targeted drug delivery. Although still in its infancy, exosome-mediated drug delivery boasts low toxicity, low immunogenicity, and high engineerability, and holds promise for cell-free therapies for a wide range of diseases.

Keywords: Exosomes, targeted delivery, chemical modification, genetic engineering, exosomal membrane proteins