Membrane-Mimic Nanoparticles for Drug and Gene Delivery

  • Kholod Alamoudi

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Nanoscale organic particles have gained a prominent role in drug and gene delivery field. As the nature of the nanoparticle’s (NPs) surface plays a major role in their targeting efficiency, bioavailability, and cytotoxicity, membrane-mimic nanoparticles are considered highly attractive materials for in vivo and in vitro applications. Synthetic membrane vesicles (liposomes) and nanoconstructs built with native cancer cellular membrane are excellent scaffolds to improve cellular delivery. Liposomes have been extensively used due to their high loading capacity, biocompatibility and biodegradability. However, modifications with stimuli responsive materials are highly needed to improve their stability and turn them active participants in controlled delivery. Towards a nature inspired approach, reconstructed bilayers from cell membrane are a good candidate to enhance NP’s targeting ability and biocompatibility. The primary focus of this research is to develop smart responsive (lipid) membrane coated NPs with surface modifications for controlled and targeted drug and/or gene delivery for application in cancer therapy. Three approaches have been developed, namely i) liposomes as thermoresponsive nanocarriers for the delivery of genetic material; ii) magnetically photosensitive liposome hybrids and iii) biomimetic periodic mesoporous organo silica engineered for better a biocompatibility and targeting capabilities. In the first project synthetic liposomes were loaded with ammonium bicarbonate salt (ABC) and siRNA. The combination of lipids chosen and the relative ratios allowed the rapid release of the genetic material to the multi drug resistant cancer cells studied, upon external heat trigger. This design has improved the gene silencing efficiency via successful endosomal escape. In the second project, SPIO@Au nanoparticles were imbedded in the lipid bilayer to produce a photo/thermal responsive carrier that could be also used in cell imaging besides gene transfection and drug delivery. For the final project, a nature inspired coating was used in periodic mesoporous organosilica (PMO) NPs. PMOs were functionalized with colorectal cancer cell membrane. The resulting CC@NH2-TSPMOs, holding the diverse cancer cell membrane antigens showed a promising potential towards disease targeting and improved pharmacokinetics. This research confirms the notion of how nanotechnology engineering approaches are effective to improve the quality and effectiveness of cancer therapeutics.
Date of AwardDec 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorNiveen Khashab (Supervisor)


  • Membrane
  • Nano-Particles
  • Drug
  • Gene
  • Cancer

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