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GEN Covers Exosome Research on Front Page of June 15 Issue

Research on “exosomes” is the subject of the cover story of the June 15, 2013 issue of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN) ( Exosomes are tiny subcellular membrane-bound vesicles (30-150 nm in diameter) that are released by a wide variety of normal cell types and cancer cells, and that can carry membrane and cellular proteins, as well as microRNA (miRNA), and various other types of RNA, including mRNA fragments, representative of the cell of origin. It is thought that exosomes may serve the purpose of shuttling information from one cell to another. For instance, it has been shown that exosomes can carry material from cancer cells that acts to suppress the immune system and stimulate angiogenesis, thus encouraging cancer growth. The GEN article covers some of the exciting research presented at the 2013 International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) annual conference held in Boston, April 17-20. The article includes a discussion of Novartis’s Maja M. Janas’s (Ph.D.) work to to identify miRNAs commonly enriched or reduced in exosomes across eight different liver cancer cell lines as part of a larger effort to investigate the mechanism of selective miRNA sorting into exosomes; a description of Life Technologies’ Alexander Vlassov’s (Ph.D.) efforts to use deep sequencing to provide profiles of the RNA in exosomes released by HeLa cells; a report on the University of Washington’s Lucia Vojtech’s (Ph.D.) study of exosomes present in human ejaculates as part of a study to determine how the genital mucosa might become immunosuppressed, particularly in HIV transmission; a discussion of the University of Notre Dame’s Jeffrey Schorey’s (Ph.D.) work to use exosomal RNAs as biomarkers for Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected macrophages; and finally, a description of how Amsterdam’s VU Medical Center’s Michiel Pegtel (Ph.D.) is taking a deep-sequencing approach to identify small RNA biomarkers in tumor exosomes. The GEN article implies that the study of exosomes may be of enormous medical importance going forward. [GEN article] [ISEV conference web site] [ISEV conference blog]