Exosomes are best defined as ‘extracellular vesicles that are released from cells upon fusion of an intermediate endocytic compartment, the multivesicular body (MVB), with the plasma membrane.’ (Edgar, 2016, para. 2) A lot still remains unanswered in regards to their biology, as there are some difficulties in studying them. Nevertheless, they have proven to be a vital part of the regenerative medicine industry through being engineered as drug delivery systems and therapeutic applications. Its effectiveness in the repair of joints have been very positive, and have served as a non-aggressive way to naturally repair the body while avoiding surgery. While surgery pushes to replace parts in the body by external means, regenerative medicine aims to regrow and redevelop a joint naturally. In other instances, leaps and strides have been made in aesthetic aspects of repairing the human body. Once thought of as a pipe dream, slowing down or even reversing the effects of aging have been proven to be effective through regenerative medicine. Within the field of regenerative medicine, it is the all-important exosome that make this possible.
‘Exosomes bear surface molecules that allow them to be targeting to recipient cells…this could be used to target them to diseased tissues or organs. It could also be used to deliver therapies such as small molecules, RNA therapies, proteins, viral gene therapy and CRISPR gene-editing.’ (Wilson, 2020, para. 15-16) They hold tremendous potential given they are able to attack cancerous cells, along with inhibit tumor growth through recruiting an anti-tumor immune response.
A Wide Treatment Range
Injection of MSC-exosomes have shown to reduce infarct size in a myocardial infarction model, restoring long-term cardiac function, to having a neuroprotective effect leading to significant improvements at tissue and function level or ischaemic stroke. ‘Under Tianjin Medical University, mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes are being used to promote healing of large and refractory macular holes (MHs) in patients diagnosed with large and long-standing idiopathic MH’s.’ (Popowski, et al., 2020, p. 3) It is clear that exosome use for regenerative medicine is a feasible therapeutic offering, offering practical applications for a wide range of diseases.
As medical breakthroughs continue to occur and revolutionize the field, the power of the exosome keeps offering more and more opportunities for people in the medical field everywhere. With regenerative medicine proving itself to be more powerful than your typical drugs or treatment, never before has there been a better choice for combating the aging process along with a variety of medical conditions.
Edgar, J.R. (2016) Q&A: What are exosomes, exactly?. BMC Biol 14, 46. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12915-016-0268-z
Popowski, K., Lutz, H., Hu, S., George, A., Dinh, P. U., & Cheng, K. (2020). Exosome therapeutics for lung regenerative medicine. Journal of extracellular vesicles, 9(1), 1785161. https://doi.org/10.1080/20013078.2020.1785161
Wilson, M. (2020) Exosomes: definition, function, and use in therapy. Technology Networks. Retrieved from https://www.technologynetworks.com/cell-science/articles/exosomes-definition-function-and-use-in-therapy-334117