Exosomes represent a potential sweet spot between small molecules, biologics, and cell therapies for a future as highly potent multifaceted biopharmaceuticals. Studies that are leading towards clinical applications have raised expectations that exosomes will eventually provide treatment for a wide range of orphan diseases. From basic research to clinical application, the ability to stably store exosomes whilst maintaining their unique characteristics is fundamental to their research and therapeutic development.
Exosomes and viruses have many things in common, including their size, lipid coat, and the ability to transport RNA and proteins between cells. Exosomes and viruses co-purify using techniques including size exclusion columns. Are these similarities a coincidence or is there a shared past?
Fetal maturation rate and birth timing are both regulated by factors including hormones, nutrients, and adipokines. Increasingly, the contribution of exosomes to the establishment of a successful pregnancy and delivery process is becoming clear. Exosomes regulate the physiology and metabolism of both the mother and the fetus by acting as messengers that carry specific biological signals between cells/tissues—generating an intimate relationship between them.
Regenerative medicine aims to address the underlying causes of a patient’s condition to replace lost tissue and restore normal function. But the challenge for regenerative medicine of translating basic research into clinical therapies is immense.
Radiation-induced bystander effects (RIBEs) describe damage to tissues that lie outside of the radiation field. Even though these tissues were not exposed to radiation, they demonstrate responses. Growing evidence supports a role for exosomes mediating these effects.
The role of exosomes in the development of autoimmune diseases is increasingly well understood. Amongst these, rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common. It affects about 1% of women and 0.5% of men in OECD nations. Over the last decade, the potential use of exosomes for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has become a hot topic.
An unprecedented effort led to the rapid development of vaccines and therapeutics to mitigate the impact of Covid 19. Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are highly effective in limiting the incidence of severe disease. But with new variants emerging and patchy vaccination coverage, large numbers of people are still becoming severely affected and dying.
A pathogenic role of microRNAs (miRNAs) derived from exosomes has been attributed to a growing list of autoimmune conditions. Using exosomes as a biomarker to diagnose autoimmune conditions could help healthcare providers offer effective care prior to irreversible damage.
Inadequate blood supply to the skin can promote the development of wounds. These so-called ischemic wounds affect millions of people and can lead to amputations or even loss of life. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently reported their studies in which they examined the use of exosomes containing TGF-β to treat chronic skin wounds.
The therapeutic effects of transplanted stem cells can be mediated by their exosomes. Since exosomes offer relative simplicity and are tolerated without the need for immunosuppressive drugs, there is increasing interest in using exosomes for therapy rather than cells. There may be advantages to using exosomes from microorganisms therapeutically too.