The American Society for Exosomes and Microvesicles (ASEMV) 2017 Annual Meeting was held October 8-12 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, California. The event was attended by 180 scientists from around the United States and world. In the last talk on Tuesday, evening, Michael Olin, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Minnesota, presented his group’s work on the identification of a peptide that activates a pathway that opposes the CD200 immune inhibition pathway induced by exosomes released by cancer cells, particularly glioblastoma (GBM) cells. Dr. Olin has shown that parenteral injection of the peptide and tumor lysate reduces or eliminates glioma in dogs with natural gliomas. Dr. Olin and colleagues have recently founded a company (OX2 Therapeutics, http://www.ox2therapeutics.com/) dedicated to bringing this therapeutic peptide to the clinic, hopefully within a year. Earlier on Tuesday evening, Xandra Breakefield, PhD, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Geneticist, Massachusetts General Hospital, began by emphasizing the grim nature of glioblastoma multiforme which is fatal (15-month average lifespan after diagnosis) and for which there has been no change in treatment in 20 years. Dr. Breakefield noted that glioma-secreted extracellular vesicles (EVs) are taken up by microglia cells which typically constitute 30%-40% of the tumor microenvironment. She noted that normally microglia act as sentinels in the brain, actively sensing the milieu and performing “warrior” and “nurturer” functions as needed.
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