Exosomes play a key role in cell-to-cell communication and can modulate the behavior of nearby and distant cells.
Exosomes secreted from mesenchymal stem cells retain the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of their source cells and present a promising alternative to cell therapies in regenerative medicine.
But potential applications of exosomes are many, as the vesicles can be loaded with molecules that amplify or change their activity, such as RNA, proteins, or any water-soluble drug compound.
Preclinical results confirm the potential of loaded exosomes in neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, auto immune, and infectious diseases, as well as oncology.
Both natural and loaded exosomes can be altered to precisely target specific cells or tissues by attaching ligands to their surface. The exosomes are then directed to the cells of interest to deliver the loaded compound. This reduces the dose of the compound and increases its potency on the targeted cells only.
The application of loading and/or targeting technology results in engineered exosomes.