Bacteria and cells as alternative nano-carriers for biomedical applications.

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Introduction: Nano-based systems have received a lot of attention owning their particular properties and hence, have been proposed for a wide variety of biomedical applications. These nanosystems could be potentially employed for diagnosis and therapy of different medical issues. Although these nanomaterials are designed for specific tasks, interactions and transformation when administered to the human body affect their performance and behaviour. In this regard, bacteria and other cells have been presented as alternative nanocarriers. These microorganisms can be genetically modified and customized for a more specific therapeutic action and, in combination with nanomaterials, can lead to bio-hybrids with a unique potential for biomedical purposes. Areas covered: Literature regarding bacteria and cells employed in combination with nanomaterials for biomedical applications is revised and discussed in this review. The potential as well as the limitations of these novel bio-hybrid systems are evaluated. Several examples are presented to show the performance of these alternative nanocarriers. Expert Opinion: Bio-hybrid systems have shown their potential as alternative nanocarriers as they contribute to a better performance than traditional nano-based systems. Nevertheless, their limitations must be studied, and advantages and drawbacks assessed before their application to medicine.
RESEARCHER ID M-3378-2014 (María Vallet Regí) ORCID 0000-0002-6104-4889 (María Vallet Regí)