Efficient RNA Drug Delivery Using Red Blood Cell Derived Extracellular Vesicles


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

View graph of relations


Related Research Unit(s)


Awarding Institution
Award date30 Aug 2019


Most of the current methods for programmable RNA drug therapies are unsuitable for the clinic due to low uptake efficiency and high cytotoxicity. Extracellular vesicles (EVs) could solve these problems because they represent a natural mode of intercellular communication. However, current cellular sources for EV production are limited in availability and safety in terms of horizontal gene transfer. One potentially ideal source could be human red blood cells (RBCs). Group-O-RBCs can be used as universal donors for large-scale EV production since they are readily available in blood banks and they are devoid of DNA. Here, we describe and validate a new strategy to generate large-scale amounts of RBC-derived EVs for the delivery of RNA drugs, including antisense oligonucleotides, Cas9 mRNA and guide RNAs. RNA drug delivery with RBCEVs shows highly robust microRNA inhibition and CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in both human cells and xenograft mouse models, with no observable cytotoxicity.

    Research areas

  • Extracellular vesicles, RNA therapeutics, Delivery vehicles, Red blood cells, microRNA, Genome editing, Acute myeloid leukemia, Breast cancer