DEC 22, 2019 10:15 PM PST

New Gene Therapy Uses Exosomes to Reverse Disease

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a new gene therapy that makes use of exosomes, fluid sacs released in cells, to carry therapeutic tools to targeted sites around the body. A process known as nanoporation, the team claim it has the potential to reverse diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

To develop the therapy, the researchers placed around one million donated human cells, including adult stem cells, on a nano-engineered silicon wafer. Then, using an electrical stimulus, they injected synthetic DNA into these cells. This then caused them to expel unwanted contents as part of DNA transcribed messenger RNA (mRNA) to fix gaps in their membranes. In doing so, they also ejected unwanted materials into exosomes, which contained the drug. 

By using electrical stimulation in this way, the researchers were able to quickly increase the number of therapeutic genes in a large quantity of exosomes. Whereas previously such a task would be more laborious and time-consuming, the researchers say that the speed and efficacy of their process makes it efficient enough to one day become a viable treatment option for humans. 

To understand the efficacy of the technique as a treatment option, the researchers used it to treat mice with glioma brain tumors. In particular, they chose to deliver a gene called PTEN, a cancer suppressor gene, as certain mutations are unable to suppress cancer cells, and thus allow them to proliferate at an alarming rate. 

Following their experiments, their results showed that mice who received the new gene therapy practice were far more likely to see their brain tumors grow at a reduced rate when compared to other methods used as controls. 

Senior author of the study, Professor L James Lee said, “The advantage of this is there is no toxicity, nothing to provoke an immune response...Exosomes go almost everywhere in the body, including passing the blood-brain barrier. Most drugs can’t go to the brain.”

He continued, “Hopefully, one day this can be used for medical needs..We’ve provided the method. If somebody knows what kind of gene combination can cure a certain disease but they need a therapy, here it is.”

 

Sources: Drug Target Review and Health Europa 

 

About the Author
  • Science writer with keen interests in technology and behavioral biology. Her current focus is on the interplay between these fields to create meaningful interactions, applications and environments.
You May Also Like
MAY 07, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Will the Next Outbreak Come From Cattle?
MAY 07, 2020
Will the Next Outbreak Come From Cattle?
Many species of Campylobacter bacteria are infectious and can cause a disease called campylobacteriosis in animals and p ...
MAY 15, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
It Only Takes One Gene For Virgin Birth in Honey Bees
MAY 15, 2020
It Only Takes One Gene For Virgin Birth in Honey Bees
Cape honey bees are found in South Africa, and while they look similar, they are very different from other subspecies of ...
JUN 01, 2020
Microbiology
The Most Common Marine Microbe Has a Virus in Its Genome
JUN 01, 2020
The Most Common Marine Microbe Has a Virus in Its Genome
Single-celled ocean microbes known as Pelagibacter or SAR11 make up about 25 percent of the plankton on the planet.
JUN 29, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Why Two Similar Bacterial Toxins Cause Different Illnesses
JUN 29, 2020
Why Two Similar Bacterial Toxins Cause Different Illnesses
The microbial pathogens of the world have shown us how powerful they can be, most recently proven by the current pandemi ...
JUL 20, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
A Tiny But Efficient Cas Protein is Discovered in a Bacteriophage
JUL 20, 2020
A Tiny But Efficient Cas Protein is Discovered in a Bacteriophage
The microbes of the world are locked in a struggle for survival and a battle for resources. They compete directly in dif ...
AUG 03, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Understanding How Disease Risk Begins in Development
AUG 03, 2020
Understanding How Disease Risk Begins in Development
Many common complex diseases are thought to be caused by an interplay of genetic and environmental factors.
Loading Comments...