Exosomes are nanoscale (≈30–150 nm) extracellular vesicles of endocytic origin that are shed by most types of cells and circulate in bodily fluids. Exosomes carry a specific composition of proteins, lipids, RNA, and DNA and can work as cargo to transfer this information to recipient cells. Recent studies on exosomes have shown that they play an important role in various biological processes, such as intercellular signaling, coagulation, inflammation, and cellular homeostasis. These functional roles are attributed to their ability to transfer RNA, proteins, enzymes, and lipids, thereby affecting the physiological and pathological conditions in various diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative, infectious, and autoimmune diseases (e.g., cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis).
Due to their unique composition, easy accessibility and capability of representing their parental cells, exosomes, and exosome containing RNAs, proteins draw much attention as promising biomarkers for screening, diagnosis and prognosis of these diseases via non-invasive or minimally invasive procedures. Therefore, isolation and analysis of tumor-derived exosomes and exosome containing biomarkers at the early stage of the diseases could significantly improve the capacity to diagnose the diseases thereby improving outcomes.
The Shiddiky group is pursuing studies of the development of multifunctional magnetic nanomaterials based technologies and devices for the highly selective isolation and sensitive detection of exosome and exosomal biomarkers (mRNA, proteins) in patients with cancer and other diseases.