Towards an Exosomes-based Molecular Test for Remission Monitoring of Cancer
Conference Recording Nov 30, 2013
Speaker: Michiel Pegtel, Assistant Professor, VU University Medical Center
Recently it is becoming clear that exosomes are carriers of biologically active nucleic acids such as non-coding small RNAs (i.e. microRNAs) and mRNAs (Valadi et al., 2007; Skog J et al. Nat Cell Biol 2008) as well as functional viral miRNAs (Pegtel et al. PNAS 2010). The mission of the Exosomes Laboratory at the translational oriented Cancer Center Amsterdam (CCA) is two-fold. Firstly, we aim to unravel the fundamental processes and mechanisms of exosomes biogenesis and the role of exosomes in cancer development. Secondly, we aim to apply this research and develop technologies to improve cancer-related diagnostic tools and to discover new therapeutic targets that can be used for treatment modalities in the clinic. Recently, we have been applying deep-sequencing techniques to characterize the small RNA content of cancer cells and exosomes both in vitro and in vivo. We find strong evidence that small RNAs in exosomes have distinct features exploited by viruses that underlay an important role in biology and disease which is useful for their applicability as biomarkers.