A recent study published by collaborators working in Chile is the first to describe some remarkable anti-bacterial properties of exosome-like vesicles (ELVs) isolated from honeybee products including honey, royal jelly and pollen
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are microscopic hollow lipid spheres which shuttle cargo, including proteins and nucleic acids, between cells. The biological importance of EVs in normal tissue homeostasis and also disease is well established. Consequently, their clinical potential as therapeutics and diagnostics is the focus of much attention.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs), and exosomes in particular, are transitioning from academic research to biotech development and onwards towards the clinic. Close to 50 EV companies have already emerged, particularly since 2017, with growing support from investors. These companies are focusing on both therapeutic and diagnostic applications. The emerging exosome biotech companies have a surprisingly diverse set of strategies which are shaping the medical and commercial future of the nascent exosome field.
In an age of alternative facts, where anything can be denied, vaccine’s are in the sights of conspiracy theorists. The indisputable fact is that, along with improved hygiene and nutrition, vaccines are one of the most effective tools to prevent disease saving an estimated 2-3 million lives per year. Thanks to vaccines, none of us have to live in fear of many terrible diseases. Here are some of the major achievements of vaccines over the decades.
Turning a readily available commodity into a scarce one is a neat trick. Stem cell scientists have long been able to convert one cell to another. For example, turning skin cells into dopaminergic neurons which could treat Parkinson's disease. However, these new cells also need to be in the right place. Relocation from in-vitro to in-vivo is a difficult journey which kills most cells.
Cells, like people, are a product of their genes and their environment. They respond to biological cues, such as growth factors, and they also respond to physical cues, such as shear stress produced by the flow of fluids. One of the most important physical factors for cells is the softness of their niche. This is determined by the localized composition of the extracellular matrix and physical attributes of their surrounding cells. The effect of getting softness right can be critical. Softness can direct cell differentiation, or maintain plenipotentiary and enhance proliferation. Just placing pluripotent cells on a soft surface reduces or possibly eliminates the need for growth factors
Exosomes are nanoscale lipid spheres secreted by cells. Each exosomes contain bits of the cell that produced it, packaged within the exosome and embedded in their walls. DNA, RNA and proteins are all carried. Study of this cargo material can reveal information about the status of cells that secrete them into blood and other body fluids.
The first beef burger made from cells grown outside a cow cost a whopping $320,000, or > $1mn/kg. It was described as dry and flavourless. The challenge the nascent cultured meat industry then faced was to generate a product that looks, tastes and feels like meat and at a price that at least some consumers are prepared to pay. The good news is prices have now tumbled, still falling, and quality has improved. A $1.7 Trn global market beckons. Things are hotting up in the cultured meat kitchen
When plants are moved to a new location, they benefit from compost to help put down roots and become established. The compost provides a depot of nutrients that encourages root growth and accelerates the development of the plant. Similarly, survival agents are small molecules (chemicals) or proteins (particularly growth factors) that have a similar function in cell culture and cell implantation. They go beyond regular maintenance, helping cells during the process of adaptation to the new environment and getting through crisis periods before becoming established. Survival agents are used in 2D, 3D and in-vivo.
Using CRISPR-Cas9 and related technologies, the human genome can now be edited with relative ease. However, these techniques carry a significant risk in therapeutic applications (gene therapy and cell therapy) of unwanted off-target effects. For example, insertion of DNA near to an oncogene could activate it and cause cancer.