from the Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Center – Exosomes are vesicles – that is, tiny little substances found in the blood that are formed as a natural part of the creation of cells, such as blood cells. One of the interesting aspects of exosomes is that they contain some of the material from their originating cells, including proteins and RNA. As a result, exosomes can be used in some cases to detect certain forms of cancer, such as ovarian, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Since exosomes are released into urine by the kidney, these cancers could be detected by something as simple as a urine test.
In a study published in Scientific Reports, Dr. David W. Greening from La Trobe University and a team of researchers looked at the viability of using exosomes to detect mesothelioma. Basing their study on the success of previous studies that were able to detect other forms of cancer, Dr. Greening and team looked at a variety of different exosomes released by malignant mesothelioma cells and analyzed them according to several different models.
Although this study itself did not provide definitive evidence that mesothelioma could be detected using exosomes, the research team is hopeful that they are looking in the right direction. Ultimately, the team concluded that, “Tumour-derived exosomes and their cargo represent exciting and potentially early targets for circulating markers of [malignant mesothelioma]….”