Exosomes are naturally secreted nanovesicles that have recently aroused a great interest in the scientific and clinical community for their roles in intercellular communication in almost all physiological and pathological processes. These 30-100nm sized vesicles are released from the cells into the extracellular space and ultimately into biofluids in a tightly regulated way. Their molecular composition reflects their cells of origin, may confer specific cell or tissue tropism and underlines their biological activity. Exosomes and other extracellular vesicles (EVs) carry specific sets of proteins, nucleic acids (DNA, mRNA and regulatory RNAs), lipids and metabolites that represent an appealing source of novel noninvasive markers through biofluid biopsies. Exosome-shuttled molecules maintain their biological activity and are capable of modulating and reprogramming recipient cells. This multi-faceted nature of exosomes hold great promise for improving cancer treatment featuring them as novel diagnostic sensors as well as therapeutic effectors and drug delivery vectors. Natural biological activity including the therapeutic payload and targeting behavior of EVs can be tuned via genetic and chemical engineering.
Exosome-shuttled molecules maintain their biological activity and are capable of modulating and reprogramming recipient cells
Kooijmans SA, Schiffelers RM, Zarovni N, Vago R. (2016) Modulation of tissue tropism and biological activity of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles: new nanotools for cancer treatment. Pharmacol Res [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]