Exosomes are small bubbles that are secreted by eukaryotic cells (cells that contain a defined nucleus – unlike bacteria). These bubbles allow cells to release debris or to communicate with distant cells. Such communication has also been found between cancer cells, and here comes the interesting part. Researchers at the University of Ohio have found a way to not only produce large quantities of exosomes, but also to fill them with drugs. Now, these little bubbles can travel anywhere in the body, including the brain, and discharge their contents only to the relevant cells. All you have to do is figure out which cells need to create the exosome that will deliver the drug to the right group of cells.
In the current research, the researchers filled the exosomes with RNA that enabled the destruction of cancerous tumors in mice. It is important to remember that cancer cells are cells from our own bodies that, following damage to their DNA, have begun to multiply at a high rate hence creating tumors. If we get the correct instructions to these multiplying cells, for example using RNA, we can destroy them.
Are we about to have a new therapy treatment? Precise and harmless (to the rest of our body) chemotherapy?
Will exosomes be used for genomic engineering?
We shall find all this out soon enough.