Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

A Review on RBC-Hitchhiking as a Novel Drug Delivery System

Suresh A. Marnoor


Red Blood Cells (RBCs) are the human body's most abundant cells. Transferring oxygen to cells and body tissues is their main function. Owing to their unique biological properties, they are very useful for drug delivery. Due to their biocompatibility and known protection in transfusions, RBCs are especially attractive carriers. RBCs are biodegradable, possess very long circulation half-lives. The vast majority of drugs fail because they disperse across the body, landing in surrounding organs where, in comparison to specifically targeting the places that are really in need, they can cause intolerable side effects. Drug delivery using the natural biological carriers is a fast-developing field. A new drug-delivery technology which uses red blood cells (RBCs) to shuttle nano-scale drug carriers, called RBC-hitchhiking (RH) can be used to achieve site specific drug delivery. This article summarises how RBC-Hitchhiking (RH) has enormous potential to achieve site-specific& prolonged drug delivery system.


Drug delivery, nanocarriers, polymeric nanoparticles, red blood cells (RBCs), RBChitchhiking, targeted delivery

Full Text:



Larisa Koleva, Elizaveta Bovt, et al. Erythrocytes as carriers: from drug delivery to biosensors. Pharmaceutics. 2020; 12(3): 276.

Muzykantov VR, Zaltsman AB, et al. Target-sensitive immune erythrocytes: Interaction of biotinylated red blood cells with immobilized avidin induces their lysis by complement. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (Biomembranes). 1996; 1279(2): 137–143.

Reena Gill. Resealed erythrocytes as a potential drug carrier system. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research. 2012; 3(2): 383–397.

Ihler GM, Glew RH, Schnure FW. Enzyme loading of erythrocytes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 1973; 70(9): 2663–2666.

Ridhima Wadhwa, Taru Aggarwal, et al. Red blood cells as an efficient in vitro model for evaluating the efficacy of metallic nanoparticles. Biotech. 2019; 9(7):279.

Brenner JS, Pan DC, Myerson JW, et al. Red blood cell-hitchhiking boosts delivery of nanocarriers to chosen organs by orders of magnitude. Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1): 2684.

Aleksandra Zielinska, Filipa Carreiro, et al. Polymeric nanoparticles: production, characterization, toxicology and ecotoxicology. Molecules. 2020; 25: 3731. 8. Zongmin Zhao, Anvay Ukidve, et al. Erythrocyte leveraged chemotherapy (ELeCt): nanoparticle assembly on erythrocyte surface to combat lung metastasis. Sci. Adv.2019; 5(11): eaax9250.

Aaron C Anselmo, Vivek Gupta, et al. Delivering nanoparticles to lungs while avoiding liver and spleen through adsorption on red blood cells. ACS Nano. 2013; 7(12):11129–11137.

Zahra Sadat Aghili, Seyed Abbas Mirzaei, Mehdi Banitalebi-Dehkordi. A potential hypothesis for 2019-nCoV infection therapy through delivery of recombinant ACE2 by red blood cell-hitchhiking. Journal of Biological Research-Thessaloniki. 2020: 27.

Jacob S Brenner, Daniel C Pan, et al. Red blood cell-hitchhiking boosts delivery of nanocarriers to chosen organs by orders of magnitude. Nature Communications.2018: 9(1): 2684.

Anvay Ukidve, Zongmin Zhao, Alexandra Fehnel, et al. Erythrocyte-driven immunization via biomimicry of their natural antigen-presenting function. National Academy of Sciences. 2020; 117(30): 17727–17736.

IV Zelepukin, AV Yaremenko, et al. Nanoparticle-based drug delivery: via RBC-hitchhiking for the inhibition of lung metastases growth. Nanoscale. 2019; 11(4):1636–1646.

Brown S. Nanoparticles hitch a ride. Nature Nanotech. 2013; 8(12).


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Trends in Drug Delivery