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Not more than 10 years ago, the consensus among most scientists was that extracellular vesicles (EVs)—biological particles found in our urine, saliva, and throughout our bodies—were mere waste products with no role in communication between cells. Today, we know that’s simply not true: EVs certainly play a role in cell communication, but the extent to which they do so is still a topic of research. We also know that they have the potential to be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. For example, the identification of EVs in the blood can be diagnostic of cancer, and we know that metastatic cancer cells release EVs that are softer than other types of EVs. Additionally, EVs can be taken from fat tissue and used for therapeutic purposes.

This is just a fraction of what Joy Wolfram, Ph.D., Director of The Nanomedicine and Extracellular Vesicles Laboratory at the Mayo Clinic in Florida discusses on the podcast today. She also explains the work they are doing to synthesize nanoparticles which are capable of being modified in a way that allows them to transport therapeutic agents (e.g. cancer drugs, anti-inflammatory compounds) through the bloodstream and directly to the site of diseased tissue. By tuning in, you’ll learn about all of this and more, including:

  • What specific types of benefits can be conferred by nanomedicine
  • How an analysis of the sugars on the surface of EVs might predict whether a cancer is likely to metastasize in a patient
  • How an understanding of EVs could be applied to regenerative medicine
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