Exosomes Are “Sensational Biological Discovery,” Eminent Yale Immunologist Says; Naturally Occurring Nanoparticles Are Ideal Vehicles for Delivery of New Therapies & Offer Many Advantages Over Artificial Nanoparticles, Author States in Nature

In an Outlook piece published online on June 17, 2020, in Nature (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01764-0), Philip Askenase (photo), MD, Professor of Medicine (Clinical Immunology) at the Yale University School of Medicine in the Section of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, and former Chief of Allergy & Clinical Immunology at the Yale University School of Medicine, states that “exosomes are a sensational biological discovery.” The tiny membrane-bounded, sub-cellular vesicles are produced and secreted by all cells in all animal species that have been studied, and are also produced and varieties are released by plants and bacteria. The open-access Nature article is titled “Artificial Nanoparticles Are Not As Good As The Real Thing.” According to Dr. Askenase, the main function of exosomes is to enter other cells—either nearby or systemically after traveling through the bloodstreams—and to deliver their cargo, which most importantly is microRNAs (miRNAs) that can cause alterations in the acceptor cell’s DNA expression, leading to changes in protein function, and ultimately, to changes in the acceptor cell’s behavior. Dr. Askenase says that “Exosomes are unanticipated universal nanoparticles that can mediate previously undiscovered biological processes, and alter molecular and metabolic pathways of cells and whole organisms.” He believes that exosomes could be of enormous medical importance. “They likely will provide researchers with a better understanding of disease mechanisms, lead to new diagnostic tests, and, perhaps of greatest importance, provide a natural nanoparticle means for the delivery of new therapies,” Dr. Askenase says. But he believes that this will only happen if researchers study exosomes more intensively.
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