Extracellular Vesicles as Biological Shuttles for Targeted Therapies

Stefania Raimondo, Gianluca Giavaresi, Aurelio Lorico, Riccardo Alessandro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The development of effective nanosystems for drug delivery represents a key challenge for the improvement of most current anticancer therapies. Recent progress in the understanding of structure and function of extracellular vesicles (EVs)-specialized membrane-bound nanocarriers for intercellular communication-suggests that they might also serve as optimal delivery systems of therapeutics. In addition to carrying proteins, lipids, DNA and different forms of RNAs, EVs can be engineered to deliver specific bioactive molecules to target cells. Exploitation of their molecular composition and physical properties, together with improvement in bio-techniques to modify their content are critical issues to target them to specific cells/tissues/organs. Here, we will discuss the current developments in the field of animal and plant-derived EVs toward their potential use for delivery of therapeutic agents in different pathological conditions, with a special focus on cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2019


  • drug delivery
  • extracellular vesicles
  • liposomes
  • plant-derived extracellular vesicles
  • target therapies


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