First use of exosomes as fetal therapy using animal models and human lung cells

An international team of researchers led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has successfully demonstrated the potential of exosomes as a fetal therapy to regenerate immature lungs. Exosomes, which can be thought of as messengers carrying genetic material that travel between cells, have emerged as having therapeutic potential for a wide range of diseases in adults, including cancer and heart conditions.

Now, the SickKids-led research team has demonstrated that exosomes from stem cells isolated in the amniotic fluid can successfully regenerate fetal lung growth and maturation in animal models and human lung cells. Their findings were published in Science Translational Medicine on April 21, 2021. The researchers say their study highlights how exosomes could be a vital precision medicine tool for paediatrics in the future.

Dr. Augusto Zani, principal investigator of the study, Neonatal and Paediatric Surgeon in the Division of General and Thoracic Surgery, and Scientist in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology program, SickKids, and Lina Antounians, first author of the study, Lab Research Project Manager in the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology program, SickKids, discuss their work and how their findings could have the potential to treat several kinds of congenital abnormalities.

Antounians L, Catania VD, Montalva L et al. (2021) Fetal lung underdevelopment is rescued by administration of amniotic fluid stem cell extracellular vesicles in rodents. Sci Trans Med 13(590), eaax5941. [abstract]

Source – The Hospital for Sick Children

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