Engineered synthetic extracellular vesicles could represent new therapeutics

MiRNAs are small noncoding RNAs vital for protein regulation and gene expression. Since their discovery in the early nineties, many of their intracellular roles have been characterized. However, it is only recently that EVs loaded with miRNAs and other molecular types have started to be appreciated for their substantial involvement in cell-to-cell communication and signaling in physiological and pathological processes. EVs cell-to-cell signaling functions are complex and largely unknown, which still hampers the direct use of endogenous engineered EVs as therapeutics. However, ad hoc engineered synthetic EVs could represent new therapeutics. The potential of EV-inspired delivery carriers has now attracted the interest of the pharmaceutical industry and has challenged drug delivery researchers with new questions. University of Bristol researchers discuss EVs and EV-inspired drug delivery carriers, and the challenges involved in the use of EV-inspired drug delivery systems.

Schematic representation of liposomes and exosomes


Liposomes can be engineered to resemble exosomes’ lipid composition. However, further modifications of their lipid bilayer only occur on the surface of the liposomes. Exosomes on the other hand can have proteins intercalated in their lipid bilayers (in green and red)

Sasso L, Hosamuddin H, Emanueli C. (2017) Extracellular vesicles at the cross-line between basic science and clinical needs. Microcirculation 24(1). [abstract]

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