Cells’ “exosomes” may improve the delivery of anticancer drugs to tumors

A new study published in Cancer Medicine indicates that exosomes, or small bubbles that transport molecules from one cell to another, can be effective vehicles for delivering cancer treatments to tumors.

In the study, researchers used exosomes produced by cells called adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs) to deliver an RNA-based anti-cancer treatment (miR-138-5p) to bladder cancer tumors in mice.

“The present results reveal that ADSC-derived exosomes are an effective delivery vehicle for small molecule drugs in vivo, and exosome-delivered miR-138-5p is a promising therapeutic agent for bladder cancer treatment,” wrote researchers from the Medical School of Nanjing University.

ADSCs-derived exosomes miR-138-5p inhibits BC growth in vivo

(A) Schematic representation of the establishment of the xenograft model (1 × 107 cells per mice, n = 8 each group). (B–E) The growth rate and tumor weight significantly reduced in ADSCs-exo miR-138-5p groups compared with the control groups. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001. (F) In vivo imaging system measured the delivery efficiency of exosomes in vivo. Fluorescence enrichment in tumor region after injection of PKH26-labeled exosomes for 8 h. (G) Immunofluorescence was used to detect the distribution of exosomes in tumor tissues after injection of PKH26 labeled exosomes (red) 24 h. Scale bar, 50 μm. (H–I) The relative expression level of miR-138-5p in blood samples and tumor tissues of nude mice model. U6 was used as internal reference. Data represent the mean ± SD. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01. (J, K) The expression level of survivin in tumor tissues was determined by western blot. β-Actin used as internal reference. *p < 0.05. (L) Immunohistochemical representative images showed the survivin and ki67 positive cells in tumor tissue. Scale bar, 100 μm. *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01

Liu T, Li T, Zheng Y, Xu X, Sun R, Zhan S, Guo X, Zhao Z, Zhu W, Feng B, Wei F, Jiang N, Wang J, Chen X, Fang F, Guo H, Yang R. (2022) Evaluating adipose-derived stem cell exosomes as miRNA drug delivery systems for the treatment of bladder cancer. Cancer Med [Epub ahead of print]. [article]

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