Exosomes & Cancer – Raghu Kalluri, MD, PhD, Professor and Chairman, Department of Cancer Biology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center – Seeking to Understand How Extracellular Vesicles Work and Why They Exist
Podcast Points of Discussion: Why do cells generate extracellular vesicles? What are exosomes and how might they affect cancers? Can extracellular vesicles alter the cells around them?
In addition to being a professor and chairman of the Department of Cancer Biology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Kalluri is also Adjunct Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Baylor College of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University. Dr. Kalluri earned his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Kansas Medical Center, earned an MD degree from Brown University Medical School, and was a Post-doc fellow, and research associate as well, at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Dr. Kalluri has devoted much of his career to the study of immunology and mechanisms associated with tissue injury and repair utilizing advanced organ fibrosis.
Dr. Kalluri talks about his current work as a professor and researcher, and his study of exosomes as it relates to cancer. He provides his thoughts on the research question: why do cells generate extracellular vesicles, commonly referred to in the medical research world as simply, EVs. Interestingly, these EVs seem to have the capacity to alter cells around them, which makes this area of study particularly important. Dr. Kalluri states that they could play a role in cancer progression. Dr. Kalluri discusses the differences in exosomes in varied individuals that might serve as biomarkers. He discusses the possible exosome content differences in regard to not only disease but also pregnancy. And as he states, much more research needs to be done in order to better understand what is happening in and around these cells and how it all affects tumors, and more. Dr. Kalluri discusses the areas they hope to understand, from the basic biology, to how release happens, how exosomes protect themselves, and more. Continuing, the research PhD talks about accelerated growth and the various experiments that are happening with exosomes. He explains why they think metastasis may happen, and some of the questions they hope to answer. Why do cells generate exosomes in such large numbers, he asks, and this is one of the primary issues they study.Furthering his discussion, Dr. Kalluri talks about translational research, and the tremendous potential to utilize exosomes for drug delivery systems if they can figure out exactly how they function, and how to exploit them.