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Archive - Apr 28, 2015

Closing Ceremony of 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) Features Awards, Research Summary, Clinical Summary, and On to Rotterdam in 2016!

At the end of Dr. Gary Ruvkun’s plenary address, Dr. Jan Lötvall, President of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) (http://www.isevmeeting.org/), stepped forward to chair the closing ceremony of this “exciting and most interesting” 2015 annual ISEV meeting. First, Dr. Lötvall introduced Andy Hill, Ph.D., Professor and Department Head at the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Sciences at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, to present a “wrap-up” of the scientific research presented at the meeting. Dr. Hill highlighted a number of areas of keen interest. These included EV biogenesis, isolation and characterization of EVs/exosomes, vesicle labeling, imaging (including super-resolution, confocal, intravital, and EM microscopy), nomenclature, and transcriptomics/RNA analysis. He also emphasized the great success of this year’s newly added “Meet the Experts” sessions. Next, Dr. Lötvall introduced Louise Laurent, M.D., Ph.D., an Assistant Professor, an obstetrician specializing in high-risk pregnancies, and a prominent EV researcher from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), to give a wrap-up of the meeting from a clinical perspective. Dr. Laurent began by outlining where we are today, which she said is at the stage of discovering biomarkers and determining mechanisms, and where we are going in the future, which she said is in the direction of identifying druggable targets that might be EV-based and enable further development of personalized medicine. She emphasized that clinical progress in this area will depend critically on collaborations and cross-talk to speed advances. Communication needs to be “reciprocal,” she said, not “sequential.” Dr. Laurent also highlighted the needs for increased standardization and concern for reproducibility.

World Expert on RNA Interference (RNAi) and Small RNAs Gives Plenary Address on Final Day of 2015 Annual Meeting of International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) in Washington, DC

On Sunday, April 26, the final day of the 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) (http://www.isevmeeting.org/), with a special focus on exosomes, the 800+ attendees were privileged to hear a plenary address from one of the world’s foremost authorities on small RNAs and RNA interference (RNAi), Gary Ruvkun (photo), Ph.D. Dr. Ruvkun is a molecular biologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ruvkun discovered the mechanism by which lin-4, the first microRNA (miRNA) discovered by Dr. Victor Ambros, regulates the translation of target messenger RNAs via imperfect base-pairing to those targets, and also discovered the second miRNA, let-7, and demonstrated that it is conserved across animal phylogeny, including in humans. These miRNA discoveries revealed a new world of RNA regulation at an unprecedented small size scale, and the mechanism of that regulation. Dr. Ruvkun has also discovered many features of insulin-like signaling in the regulation of aging and metabolism. Given that the cargo of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles frequently includes varieties of small RNAs, particularly miRNAs, Dr. Ruvkun’s world-class expertise in the field of small RNAs was particularly relevant to this ISEV audience. The winner of numerous prestigious science awards throughout his career, Dr. Ruvkun most recently was named a recipient of the 2015 “Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences” (shared with Dr. Victor Ambros) for “the discovery of a new world of genetic regulation by microRNAs, a class of tiny RNA molecules that inhibit translation or destabilize complementary mRNA targets.” Dr. Ruvkun was warmly introduced to the crowd by brief remarks from Dr. Ken Witwer, Dr. Andrew Hill, and Dr.

Session on Extracellular Vesicles (Including Exosomes) As Diagnostics and Prognostics Highlights Early Morning Events on Final Day of International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2015 Annual Meeting

The final day of the International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) (http://www.isevmeeting.org/) 2015 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, kicked off with three of the newly-added and highly popular “Meet the Experts” sessions in which world-class experts in a particular area give brief presentations and then interact extensively with the audience in a Q & A session. One of these Sunday sessions was entitled “EVs As Diagnostics and Prognostics,” and was chaired by Fred Hochberg (photo), M.D., a world-renowned expert on glioblastoma, Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and Attending Neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. The two speakers were Clark Chen, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon/researcher who is the Chief of Stereotactic and Radiosurgery and Director of Medical Education at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD); and Lorraine O’Driscoll, Ph.D., who is Director of Research and Associate Professor of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland. In his brief introduction, Dr. Hochberg emphasized the significance of identifying biomarkers for brain tumors, noting that there are currently four known types of glioblastoma, but it would be “hugely valuable” to have biomarkers that would allow physicians to know the specific subtype as quickly as possible in the disease course. He then introduced Dr. Chen, who he said had a particularly beneficial dual expertise in that he was both a neurosurgeon and a research scientist. The title of Dr. Chen’s brief talk was “Promises and Pitfalls of EVs As a Glioblastoma Liquid Biopsy.” Dr. Chen began by describing the rapid lethality of glioblastoma (GB) and the “opacity of the disease.” Presently, there is no treatment for GB and it is generally fatal within 14 months.