Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs), discovered in 2004, are thin, long protrusions between cells utilized for intercellular transfer and communication. These newly discovered structures have been demonstrated to play a crucial role in homeostasis, but also in the spreading of diseases, infections, and metastases. Gaining much interest in the medical research field, TNTs have been shown to transport nanomedicines (NMeds) between cells. NMeds have been studied thanks to their advantageous features in terms of reduced toxicity of drugs, enhanced solubility, protection of the payload, prolonged release, and more interestingly, cell-targeted delivery. Nevertheless, their transfer between cells via TNTs makes their true fate unknown. If better understood, TNTs could help control NMed delivery. In fact, TNTs can represent the possibility both to improve the biodistribution of NMeds throughout a diseased tissue by increasing their formation, or to minimize their formation to block the transfer of dangerous material. To date, few studies have investigated the interaction between NMeds and TNTs. In this work, we will explain what TNTs are and how they form and then review what has been published regarding their potential use in nanomedicine research. We will highlight possible future approaches to better exploit TNT intercellular communication in the field of nanomedicine.
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