Cholesterol is a derivative of cyclopentane phenanthrene, which widely exists in animals. It participates in the formation of cell membrane and is an indispensable material in animal tissues and cells.
Traditional cholesterol is derived from animals, mainly from the saponification of pig, cattle, sheep's brain and spinal tendon, or lanolin, extracted with organic solvent. Since it is found that many diseases are transmitted from animals to humans, according to the guidelines of the latest cell therapy and gene therapy, the use of ingredients from animals should be avoided, and a safer source of cholesterol is needed.
Plant derived cholesterol is one of the most important raw materials in mRNA vaccine production and gene therapy. This kind of lipid is one of the key functional excipients of lipid nanoparticles (LNP) used in COVID-19 vaccine. In addition, with the rapid progress of related research, lipid based drug delivery technology is becoming increasingly important for more therapies, including infectious disease vaccines, cancer immunotherapy, etc.
As a new type of pharmaceutical excipient, plant derived cholesterol can be used in drug delivery systems such as nano liposomes on the one hand, and can replace animal derived cholesterol with low safety on the other hand. It also has broad space in cosmetic additives.