Exosomes are small packages released by cells into the blood circulation and other body fluids such as urine. These exosomes have been known for a long time, but were not considered very useful for medicine. However, a late night in the laboratory changed Johans future directions of research. He had found that these exosomes isolated from blood and urine contained RNA from the cancer. RNA is the language of the cells, and exactly the information we needed to improve these patients’ treatment. These small exosome packages act as communication vehicles between cells, much like todays twitter messages and by intercepting this communication we can now listen in on the cells language to detect the cancer earlier as well as see how the cancer is changing over time. This enables a new type of personalized medicine where we give the proper treatment to the right patient at the right time, yielding better results and less side-effects.
He has a background in gene therapy from Umeå University where he did his PhD. He later moved to Boston and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School where he was studying cancer stem cells. During this time, he stumbled onto a discovery that completely changed the direction of his research and also his life. Johan is now the Chief Scientific Officer and founding scientist of Exosome Diagnostics.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx