Mastering the Tools: Natural versus Artificial Vesicles in Nanomedicine

Loredana Leggio, Giuseppe Arrabito, Vittorio Ferrara, Silvia Vivarelli, Greta Paternò, Bianca Marchetti, Bruno Pignataro, Nunzio Iraci

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Naturally occurring extracellular vesicles and artificially made vesicles represent important tools in nanomedicine for the efficient delivery of biomolecules and drugs. Since its first appearance in the literature 50 years ago, the research on vesicles is progressing at a fast pace, with the main goal of developing carriers able to protect cargoes from degradation, as well as to deliver them in a time- and space-controlled fashion. While natural occurring vesicles have the advantage of being fully compatible with their host, artificial vesicles can be easily synthetized and functionalized according to the target to reach. Research is striving to merge the advantages of natural and artificial vesicles, in order to provide a new generation of highly performing vesicles, which would improve the therapeutic index of transported molecules. This progress report summarizes current manufacturing techniques used to produce both natural and artificial vesicles, exploring the promises and pitfalls of the different production processes. Finally, pros and cons of natural versus artificial vesicles are discussed and compared, with special regard toward the current applications of both kinds of vesicles in the healthcare field.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvanced healthcare materials
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • artificial vesicles
  • exosomes
  • extracellular vesicles
  • liposomes
  • nanomaterials
  • nanomedicine
  • nanotherapeutics
  • polymersomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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