Elena Batrakova, senior author of the study, and her colleagues from the Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery used exosomes — which come from white blood cells — to carry the cancer drug paclitaxel.
“We are developing new drug formulations that will allow drugs to be more efficient and pass through barriers. So that’s my goal. I’m taking potent drugs that may not be working and developing their drug delivery systems,” Batrakova said, who said she has worked in drug delivery for approximately 25 years.
After starting this study about five years ago, Batrakova said she and her colleagues found packing paclitaxel in exosomes protected it from being destroyed by bodily defenses, letting health care providers administer much less of the drug.
“Exosomes are used by nature for cell-to-cell communication. These exosomes consist of the same materials as cellular membranes, so they easily fuse with other cell membranes and deliver their materials,” Batakova said.