Engineered cancer cell membranes: An emerging agent for efficient cancer theranostics

Engineered cancer cell membranes (ECCMs) including hybrid CCMs and functionalized CCMs have offered increasing possibilities in the field of cancer theranostics. This review summarizes the recent advances in the development of ECCMs for different biomedical applications, in particular for targeted drug delivery, immunity induction, and circulating tumor cell capture and detection.


For efficient cancer theranostics, surface modification of nanomaterials plays an important role in improving targeting ability and reducing the non-specific interactions with normal tissues. Recently, the biomimetic technology represented by coating of cancer cell membranes (CCMs) has been regarded as a promising method to strengthen the biocompatibility and targeting specificity of nanomaterials. Furthermore, the engineered CCMs (ECCMs) integrated with the natural biological properties of CCMs and specific functions from other cells or proteins have offered more possibilities in the field of cancer theranostics. Herein, the recent progresses in the design and preparation of ECCMs are summarized, and the applications of ECCMs in targeting delivery, activation of immunity, and detection of circulating tumor cells are reviewed. Finally, the current challenges and future perspectives with regard to the development of ECCMs are briefly discussed.

Author list:

Yunqi Guo, Zhiqiang Wang, Xiangyang Shi*, Mingwu Shen*

How to cite:

Y. Guo, Z. Wang, X. Shi, M. Shen, Exploration 2022, 2, 20210171.