Extracellular vesicles (EVs) derived from stem and progenitor cells may have therapeutic effects comparable to their parental cells and are considered promising agents for the treatment of a variety of diseases. To this end, strategies must be designed to successfully translate EV research and to develop safe and efficacious therapies, whilst taking into account the applicable regulations.
Here, researchers from Paracelsus Medical University discuss the requirements for manufacturing, safety, and efficacy testing of EVs along their path from the laboratory to the patient. Development of EV-therapeutics is influenced by the source cell types and the target diseases. The researchers express their view based on experience in manufacturing biological therapeutics for routine use or clinical testing, and focus on strategies for advancing mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-derived EV-based therapies. They also discuss the rationale for testing MSC-EVs in selected diseases with an unmet clinical need such as critical size bone defects, epidermolysis bullosa and spinal cord injury. While the scientific community, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians are at the point of entering into clinical trials for testing the therapeutic potential of various EV-based products, the identification of the mode of action underlying the suggested potency in each therapeutic approach remains a major challenge to the translational path.