Regenerative medicine has taken the world by storm in the last few years. There are many reasons it has gained so much popularity such as being new, being revolutionary in its techniques, and being able to harness the body’s own healing power which allows for less risks and side effects than other forms of treatment.
When most people hear the term “regenerative medicine” they tend to think of stem cell therapy. However, stem cell therapy is not the only form of regenerative medicine. As more and more physicians and scientists have focused on better understanding the body’s healing process, they have found other factors, such as exosomes, which show much promise in the future for the field of regenerative medicine.
Exosomes are not cells, as they do not contain a nucleus or DNA. Rather, they are extracellular vesicles which contain protein, growth factors and RNA of the cells that excreted them. After these exosomes are secreted by a cell, they can be taken up by a different cell and change its behavior. They deliver the “payload” of information they are carrying, which may instruct the receiving cell to rejuvenate and reprogram itself. In short, exosomes are vital to cell-cell communication. While it is not fully understood how exosomes function or the full capacity in which they may be used some day, they have triggered an explosion of interest among the regenerative therapy community.
Exosomes are highly tied to immune responses and various related diseases. They are interesting in that their ability to deliver proteins, growth factors, and RNA to different cells in the body allows for immense potential in treating disease conditions. While this ability makes exosomes a great candidate to use to better understand various diseases, there is a large focus on how exosomes can help treat and cure a plethora of diseases as well. For example, scientists are hopeful that exosomes will one day widely be used to deliver various chemotherapeutic drugs to cancer patients, and deliver immune modulators directly to the target cell. This would be a revolutionary advancement in the field of medication delivery.
In addition to helping deliver various drugs to target cells, scientists are also hopeful that exosomes will be able to play a part in disease diagnosis. Exosomes can be found in all bodily fluids. Therefore, scientists hope to be able to biopsy exosomes from a patient to determine their disease prognosis. Exosomes have an untapped ability that will help patients in the future not only with disease prognosis, but in treating difficult diseases such as cancer in a targeted way.
Regenerative medicine is a booming field of study. While stem cell therapy has been the focus of the regenerative medicine field for quite some time, exosomes are beginning to take the spotlight. While they are not fully understood, we do know that exosomes play a large role in cell-cell communication and the healing process. Small studies are showing they may work well for immune system modulation, collagen production, reduction of inflammation and improvement for patient quality of life for various ailments.
The Regenerative Stem Cell Institute offers exosome therapy in Chicago at all locations. If you would like to see if you or a loved one is a candidate, please contact us today!