Exosomes have attracted great interest because they participate in pathophysiological processes and have the obvious intrinsic ability to transport a variety of biomolecules between different tissues, organs and cells. As some studies have emphasized, successful loading of therapeutic drugs, from synthetic oligonucleotides to small molecule compounds to viral vectors, can be achieved. Optimizing the loading technology of exosomes will reduce costs and improve productivity, which is an important factor for exosomes to enter the field of treatment.
Exosomes naturally carry various types of proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids (mRNA and non-coding RNA), playing a vital role in cell-to-cell communication. Furthermore, exosomes exhibit desirable features of an ideal drug delivery system, such as a high delivery efficiency, long circulating half-life, the intrinsic ability to target tissues, biocompatibility, and minimal or no inherent toxicity issues. Importantly, exosomes own intrinsic homing capacity that can guide therapeutic cargo across natural membranous barriers, such as the blood-brain barrier (BBB), to achieve better therapeutic efficiency of brain diseases. Hence, it is logical to use exosomes as vehicles to deliver therapeutics to target cells. Before they are delivered, exosomes should be loaded with different therapeutic cargo, such as small molecules, proteins, and nucleic acids.
Fig.1 Composition of exosomes. (Ha, 2016)
Proteins - In addition to loading with small molecules, a key component of our exosome engineering services involve loading with large molecules such as proteins. The proteins can be engineered and targeted onto the surfaces of exosomes, which enables surface display of proteins and tissue targeting. Besides, proteins can also be loaded inside the exosomes for therapeutic delivery, leveraging both the natural properties of exosomes and the specificity of biological molecules.
Nucleic acids - Small interference RNA (siRNA), miRNA, short hairpin RNA (shRNA), and other nucleic acids can be incorporated into exosomes using different strategies. Numerous studies have employed exosomes from different sources as carriers of small RNAs to treat various diseases, especially brain diseases and tumors. These therapeutic genetic materials are delivered to alter gene expression and improve genetic therapy.
Fig.2 Cargo loading of exosomes for therapeutic purposes. (Li, 2018)
Several distinct approaches can be utilized at Creative Biolabs for cargo loading into exosomes:
Exosomes can be directly loaded with exogenous nucleic acids or drugs by electroporation, lipofection, sonication, and calcium chloride.
Loading parental cells with the exogenous cargo, which is then released into exosomes.
Backed by our expert scientists and technology platform, we can provide custom-specific cargo loading services of proteins, nucleic acids, and small molecules of interest. If you are interested in our services, contact us or inquire us to discuss your project requirements.