On Wednesday morning May 4, the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) opened its fifth annual meeting (ISEV 2016) in Rotterdam with a plenary session featuring presentations by two giants in cancer research. Klaus Pantel, MD, PhD, Professor and Director of the Department of Tumor Biology at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, spoke on “Liquid Biopsy in Cancer,” and David Lyden (photo), MD, PhD, Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, spoke on “The Systemic Effects of Exosome-Mediated Metastasis.” The packed house gallery of nearly 800 meeting attendees was not disappointed. Dr. Pantel, a long-time metastasis researcher, spoke on the urgent need for techniques such as non-invasive liquid biopsies--using circulating tumor cells (CTCs), cell-free DNA (cfDNA), miRNAs, and/or exosomes--to provide effective tools for screening and early detection of cancer, for cancer prognoses, for stratifying and monitoring cancers, for revealing markers of minimum residual disease, and for the identification of therapeutic targets and the understanding of resistance mechanisms, as well as possible guides to effective interventions. With regard to early detection, Dr. Pantel noted that studies have shown that there is an increase in exosome number in patients with ovarian cancer, which is a very aggressive cancer. In addition, recent work has suggested that glypican-1 cancer exosomes are an early indicator of pancreatic cancer. He further noted that contrary to current dogma, his group had found CTCs from glioma patients in the circulation outside the brain. He noted that although these CTCs do not cause metastasis in the glioma patients, they can cause cancer in those receiving transplants from such patients. Dr.
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