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The ability to successfully target the delivery of drugs and other therapeutic molecules has been a key goal of biomedical research for many decades. Despite highly promising in vitro results, however, successful translation of targeted drug delivery into clinical use has been extremely limited. This study investigates the significance of the characteristics of whole blood, which are rarely accounted for in vitro assays, as a possible explanation for the poor correlation between in vitro and in vivo experiments. It is shown using two separate model systems employing either biochemical or magnetic targeting that blood causes a substantial reduction in targeting efficiency relative to saline under the same flow conditions. This finding has important implications for the design of targeted drug delivery systems and the assays used in their development.

Original publication




Journal article


J r soc interface

Publication Date





avidin–biotin, blood, drug delivery, magnetic, microbubbles, targeting, Animals, Drug Delivery Systems, Erythrocytes, Humans, Microbubbles, Swine