Breakthrough research has recently discovered a fundamental molecular communication system that is utilized by most species, including humans. This system allows individual cells to send messages throughout the body, including proteomic and genetic information, in ways previously not recognized by science. These discoveries are creating a tremendous impact on our understanding of human health and disease. They also give rise to a unique and unprecedented opportunity for the creation of powerful tools to monitor, diagnose and treat disease.
DISCOVERIES & PIONEERING TECHNOLOGIES:
EXOi's founding scientists are responsible for seminal discoveries and pioneering research that are driving the field today. Initially dismissed by the scientific community, today the field is experiencing exponential growth. Among these discoveries and technologies are:
The development of targeting technologies enabled by the attachment of antigens, ligands, antibodies, HLA/peptide and other entities to Exosomes. This lead to the development of proprietary technologies for Precision Drug Delivery, a platform that promises to deliver therapeutic small molecules, proteins and RNA precisely to targeted tissues or cells.
The identification of a key exosome immune pathway with a myriad of translational applications. For example, numerous animal studies have demonstrated that engineered exosomes can be exploited to augment the immune response and to fight cancer. Also, an early proof of principle exosome vaccine study demonstrating that autologous exosomes can be manufactured under cGMPs and that they can be administered clinically with a good safety profile and observable biological activity.
The first identification of nucleic acid cargo associated with extracellular vesicles, including various RNA species and DNA, followed by demonstration of the horizontal transfer of bioactive RNA between cells and their utility for non invasive monitoring of disease - a field that is these days referred to as Liquid Biopsies.
RICH SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Exosomes are naturally occurring, subcellular nanometer sized lipid vesicles created within cells.
These nano-vesicles carry a cadre of macromolecules such as lipids, proteins and nucleic acids that are representative of the cells from which they originate.
These molecules include various species of RNA, both coding and non-coding varieties such as mRNA and microRNA. They also include proteins, bioactive lipids and metabolites.
So far more than 1,200 unique RNA molecules and over 4,000 unique proteins including cancer markers such as HER2/neu, BRACA1, EGFR, VEGF, and PCA3, have been discovered to be associated with these vesicles.
SPECIFIC TO CELLS OF ORIGIN
The molecular information generated by cells and carried by exosomes is very specific to the cells that generate them. They reflect the normal or diseased status of the cells and tissues.
Exosomes are especially adept at delivering their messages in a very deliberate and targeted manner.
In oncology for example these vesicles have been demonstrated to carry molecular information that is specific to certain types of breast, prostate, lung, gastric, colorectal, ovarian, pancreatic, and brain cancer among many others.
Exosomes have also been associated with diseases as diverse as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Multiple Sclerosis.
A COMMUNICATION NETWORK
Exosomes are externalized from cells into the extra-cellular space where they find their way into the blood stream and into other bio-fluids such as urine and saliva. In essence exosomes function as an intercellular communication network and delivery system. Exosomes give cells the ability to cross talk; a way for cells to shuttle SOS distress signals throughout the body, a means to influence or even control the response of distant cells and tissues.
This abundant source of information can be decoded and exploited to identify disease-related biomarkers, tissue-type biomarkers and bio-signatures. Importantly, this knowledge can also be harnessed to design new therapeutics and precision drug delivery systems.