Exosomes have specialized functions and play a key role in different physiological processes and pathological conditions. Consequently, exosomes have attracted increasing attention in their clinical applications for prognosis, diagnosis, drug delivery, and vaccine development. Here, we give an introduction to the different clinical applications of exosomes.

Diagnostic Applications

Biomarker — Exosomes released by cells into the bodily fluids display different protein, lipid, and RNA contents in healthy and patients with different diseases, indicating that exosomes can be utilized as potential diagnostic and prognostic markers. Moreover, the collection of exosomes from different samples such as blood, urine, and saliva represents minimally or non-invasive diagnostic approaches. Thus, exosomes serve as alternatives to the traditional needle or excision biopsies due to the reduced patient pain and inconvenience, greater speed, and lower cost of analysis. It has been demonstrated that they could be used to determine the onset or progress of multiple diseases, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, pregnancy, infectious diseases, etc.

Role of exosomes in different tissues and their potential use in human diseases. Fig.1 Role of exosomes in different tissues and their potential use in human diseases. (Toro, 2015)

Therapeutic Applications

Drug delivery — As natural carriers of signaling molecules, exosomes are exploited for their potential in therapeutic delivery. After they are loaded with exogenous cargo molecules, exosomes can attach to target cells by a range of surface adhesion proteins and vector ligands, and deliver their payload to target cells. Exosome-based drug formulations may be applied to a wide variety of disorders such as cancer, various infectious, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative disorders. Exosomes offer appealing features for drug delivery by providing the advantages of both synthetic nanocarriers and cell-mediated drug delivery:

  • Biocompatibility
  • Stability in the circulation
  • Biological barrier permeability
  • Low immunogenicity and toxicity

Creative Biolabs is specialized in exosome research, from isolation and characterization to engineering and manufacturing. To help provide well-characterized functional exosomes loaded with therapeutic cargo, Creative Biolabs is capable of:

  • Production of large amounts of exosomal carriers with high loading capacity;
  • Utilization of different approaches for loading of exosomal carriers with therapeutic cargo;
  • Loading of low molecular-weight therapeutics, nucleic acids, and proteins into exosomes.
  • Post-isolation modification and engineering for enhancing therapeutic outcomes.

Bioengineered exosomes for targeted drug delivery.Fig.2 Bioengineered exosomes for targeted drug delivery. (Barile, 2017)

Vaccine Development

Therapeutic cell-free vaccine — Beyond the scope of drug delivery, exosomes may also function as therapeutic cell-free vaccines, which are antigenic substances that induce the immunological rejection of established tumors via the expansion of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte repertoire and revitalization of tumor-reactive quiescent T cells. In brief, exosomes loaded with tumor peptides can stimulate the immune system to eliminate tumor cells and are, therefore, evaluated for their potential to be used as a cell-free vaccine. This is a rapidly growing area of oncological drug development. For instance, Dendritic cell-derived exosomes (Dex) have received much attention as immunotherapeutic anticancer agents. Besides, studies have reported the potential use of exosomes as vaccines against infectious diseases.

Dex interactions with immune cells. Fig.3 Dex interactions with immune cells. (Pitt, 2014)

Stem Cell-derived Exosomes

Exosomes have been identified and separated from different stem cells such as mesenchymal stromal (MSC), bone marrow mononuclear stem cells (BM-MNC), and neural stem cells (NSCs). Some studies showed that they may exert wound healing and tissue repair in various physiological systems, thus providing a promising therapeutic strategy in the field of regenerative medicine.

ApplicationFig 4. Multiple sources of stem cells, stress-preconditioned cells and gene-modified cells can yield cardio-protective exosomes. (Ailawad,2015)

Creative Biolabs is the leader in the exosome research filed, having accumulated extensive, unparalleled expertise related to the isolation and characterization of exosomes, as well as profiling and engineering of exosomal contents. Through our novel exosome-based approach, we can help exploit the power of exosomes and effectively harness their potential clinical applications. Please feel free to contact us if you want to learn more about out exosome-related services.


  1. Toro, J.D.; et al. Emerging roles of exosomes in normal and pathological conditions: new insights for diagnosis and therapeutic applications. Frontiers in Immunology. 2015, 6:203.
  2. Barile, L.; Vassalli, G. Exosomes: therapy delivery tools and biomarkers of diseases. Pharmacology & therapeutics. 2017, 174: 63-78.
  3. Pitt, J.M.; et al. Dendritic cell-derived exosomes as immunotherapies in the fight against cancer. Journal of Immunology. 2014, 193(3):1006-1011.
  4. Ailawadi, S., et al. Pathologic function and therapeutic potential of exosomes in cardiovascular disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease. 2015, 1852(1):1-11.
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