Artificial cells occupy a prominent place in the agenda of bottom-up synthetic biology, representing a genuine new technology that will lead to advanced bio-materials with programmable behavior. In this contribution, the potential role of artificial cells as smart drug delivery agent is introduced, with a focus on the general design principles. In particular, artificial cell dynamics is discussed with respect to their machine-like features, discussing those aspects that depend on the necessary interactions with the artificial cell environment. The latter, in particular, is far from being a neutral background. It co-determines, together with internal artificial cell organization, the artificial cell behavior. In this article, thanks to a preliminary high-level (conceptual) analysis of how artificial cells and environment are dynamically coupled, we conclude that adopting systems’ dynamics approaches will help to progress the field. In particular, this contribution highlights the necessity of designing, modeling, and constructing artificial cells in a new engineering framework, currently missing among the most common approaches and suggests that it can guide experimental realizations toward novel engaging directions.
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