The therapeutic benefit of bacterial membrane vesicles

Natalie J. Bitto, Maria Kaparakis-Liaskos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


The therapeutic potential of extracellular vesicles from eukaryotes has gained strong interest in recent years. However, research into the therapeutic application of their bacterial counterparts, known as bacterial membrane vesicles, is only just beginning to be appreciated. Membrane vesicles (MVs) from both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria offer significant advantages in therapeutic development, including large-scale, cost effective production and ease of molecular manipulation to display foreign antigens. The nanoparticle size of MVs enables their dissemination through numerous tissue types, and their natural immunogenicity and self-adjuvanting capability can be harnessed to induce both cell-mediated and humoral immunity in vaccine design. Moreover, the ability to target MVs to specific tissues through the display of surface receptors raises their potential use as targeted MV-based anti-cancer therapy. This review discusses recent advances in MV research with particular emphasis on exciting new possibilities for the application of MVs in therapeutic design.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1287
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2017


  • Bacterial membrane vesicles
  • Cancer therapy
  • Recombinant bacterial membrane vesicles
  • Vaccine design

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