Cells’ exosomes may improve the delivery of anticancer drugs to tumors

Wiley | 04-20-2022
Electron micrograph showing cell exosomes.
A transmission electron micrograph of an Epstein–Barr virus-transformed B cell displaying newly expelled exosomes at the plasma membrane. Credit: CC BY 4.0 – James R. Edgar – https://dx.doi.org/10.1186%2Fs12915-016-0268-z “Q&A: What are exosomes, exactly?” BMC Biol. 2016; 14: 46 (crop of original).

A new study published in Cancer Medicine indicates that exosomes––small membrane-bound extracellular vesicles that transport molecules from one cell to another––can be effective vehicles for delivering cancer treatments to tumors.

In the study, researchers used exosomes produced by cells called adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ADSCs) to deliver an RNA-based anti-cancer treatment (miR-138-5p) to bladder cancer tumors in mice. The exosomes successfully penetrated tumor tissues and delivered miR-138-5p, which led to the suppression of tumor growth. In vitro experiments also showed that miR-138-5p could suppress the migration and proliferation of bladder cancer cells.

“The present results reveal that ADSC-derived exosomes are an effective delivery vehicle for small molecule drugs in vivo, and exosome-delivered miR-138-5p is a promising therapeutic agent for bladder cancer treatment,” the authors wrote.


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