Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(4):415-429. doi:10.7150/ntno.21723 This issue


Current Progress of Virus-mimicking Nanocarriers for Drug Delivery

Masaharu Somiya*, Qiushi Liu*, Shun'ichi Kuroda

The Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University, Osaka 567-0047, Japan
*These authors contributed equally to this work.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Somiya M, Liu Q, Kuroda S. Current Progress of Virus-mimicking Nanocarriers for Drug Delivery. Nanotheranostics 2017; 1(4):415-429. doi:10.7150/ntno.21723. Available from

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Graphic abstract

Nanomedicines often involve the use of nanocarriers as a delivery system for drugs or genes for maximizing the therapeutic effect and/or minimizing the adverse effect. From drug administration to therapeutic activity, nanocarriers must evade the host's immune system, specifically and efficiently target and enter the cell, and release their payload into the cell cytoplasm by endosomal escape. These processes constitute the early infection stage of viruses. Viruses are a powerful natural nanomaterial for the efficient delivery of genetic information by sophisticated mechanisms. Over the past two decades, many virus-inspired nanocarriers have been generated to permit successful drug and gene delivery. In this review, we summarize the early infection machineries of viruses, of which the part has so far been utilized for delivery systems. Furthermore, we describe basics and applications of the bio-nanocapsule, which is a hepatitis B virus-mimicking nanoparticle harboring nearly all activities involved in the early infection machineries (i.e., stealth activity, targeting activity, cell entry activity, endosomal escaping activity).

Keywords: biomimicking, bio-nanocapsule, endosomal escape, hepatitis B virus, membrane fusion, virus-inspired nanomedicine.