MacroMacrophage-hitchhiking Anisotropic Microparticles for Therapeutic and Diagnostic Applications

February 24, 2023

Li-Wen Wang
Thesis. (February 2023). DOI:


Cell therapies represent a major paradigm shift of biotechnology in medicine due to its transformative potential in treating previously incurable diseases. A variety of cells have been applied for cell therapies, including stem cells, tissue-specific cells, and hematopoietic cells. Particularly, immune cells, a subset of blood cells, have gained significant attention owing to their inflammation-homing ability as well as inherently critical roles in disease progression and tissue regeneration. The prosperity of immune cell-based therapies in the clinic has fueled the efforts in immune cell engineering. Several approaches have been taken to functionalize immune cells, among which biomaterial-assisted cellular platforms, marrying the strengths of biomaterials and leukocytes, become a new pillar of immune cell engineering. In my thesis work, I provide a brief overview on the cell therapies in the clinic, followed by introducing two projects of biomaterial-assisted cellular platforms, where anisotropic microparticles and macrophage, a type of innate immune cells, were employed. Specifically, I developed and engineered discoidal microparticles that can hitchhike on the macrophage surface but resist phagocytosis due to their anisotropic morphology. This approach takes advantage of inflammation-homing capability of macrophages and enables stable loading of therapeutic and imaging agents in the extracellular space for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to do a histogram analysis of segmented regions.

Author Affiliation

(1) Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology