Across the blood-brain barrier with exosomes

by Eric Drexler on 2011/03/22

New work with exosomes promises wide-ranging advances in medicine, courtesy of an emerging biomolecular nanotechnology.

As pharmaceutical chemists know, the blood-brain barrier blocks delivery of many molecules that do wonderful things if injected directly into the brain, but injecting the brain isn’t quite as convenient as injecting a vein.

Exosomes are lipid vesicles manufactured by cells for transporting diverse molecules to other cells, including signaling molecules such as micro RNAs. Now, they’ve been shown to carry their contents across the blood-brain barrier, and other work has shown that exosome-like particles can be made synthetically, with membranes chock-full of functional molecules for targeting cells and inducing responses from them. With diameters of 30 to 100 nm, exosomes have room for a lot of payload.

BBC report here: “Breakthrough in delivering drugs to the brain”, abstract of paper in Nature Biotechnology here: “Delivery of siRNA to the mouse brain by systemic injection of targeted exosomes”.

The biomedical potential of siRNA is enormous, and delivery has been the main obstacle to wide-ranging applications.

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Anonymous October 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm UTC

has anybody being able to replicate the results Alvarez-Erviti 2011 or El Andaloussi 2012? Both works are from the same people and I know several top groups that have tried to replicate their results unsuccessfully. This is like the RVG siRNA of Kumar 2007, I cannot believe that Nature does not retract these papers and make so many people lose their time. I guess that they also make money from the advertisements and do not care that the citations come from reviews and discussions rather than from other groups replicating their results and using exosomes to deliver siRNAs across the blood brain barrier or in other case what are they waiting for?

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