Next Article in Journal
Evolution of Biologics Screening Technologies
Next Article in Special Issue
New Aspects of Gene-Silencing for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases
Previous Article in Journal
Natural Products as a Source for New Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Compounds through the Inhibition of Purinergic P2X Receptors
Previous Article in Special Issue
Disease-Causing Allele-Specific Silencing by RNA Interference
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(5), 659-680; doi:10.3390/ph6050659

FedExosomes: Engineering Therapeutic Biological Nanoparticles that Truly Deliver

Interdepartmental Biological Sciences Graduate Program, Northwestern University Evanston, IL 60208-3120, USA
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, Member, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Evanston, IL 60208-3120, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 March 2013 / Revised: 10 April 2013 / Accepted: 24 April 2013 / Published: 29 April 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RNAi-Based Therapeutics)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [693 KB, uploaded 29 April 2013]   |  


Many aspects of intercellular communication are mediated through “sending” and “receiving” packets of information via the secretion and subsequent receptor-mediated detection of biomolecular species including cytokines, chemokines, and even metabolites. Recent evidence has now established a new modality of intercellular communication through which biomolecular species are exchanged between cells via extracellular lipid vesicles. A particularly important class of extracellular vesicles is exosomes, which is a term generally applied to biological nanovesicles ~30–200 nm in diameter. Exosomes form through invagination of endosomes to encapsulate cytoplasmic contents, and upon fusion of these multivesicular endosomes to the cell surface, exosomes are released to the extracellular space and transport mRNA, microRNA (miRNA) and proteins between cells. Importantly, exosome-mediated delivery of such cargo molecules results in functional modulation of the recipient cell, and such modulation is sufficiently potent to modulate disease processes in vivo. It is possible that such functional delivery of biomolecules indicates that exosomes utilize native mechanisms (e.g., for internalization and trafficking) that may be harnessed by using exosomes to deliver exogenous RNA for therapeutic applications. A complementary perspective is that understanding the mechanisms of exosome-mediated transport may provide opportunities for “reverse engineering” such mechanisms to improve the performance of synthetic delivery vehicles. In this review, we summarize recent progress in harnessing exosomes for therapeutic RNA delivery, discuss the potential for engineering exosomes to overcome delivery challenges and establish robust technology platforms, and describe both potential challenges and advantages of utilizing exosomes as RNA delivery vehicles.
Keywords: exosome; nanoparticle; siRNA delivery; extracellular vesicle; gene therapy; cancer; immunity exosome; nanoparticle; siRNA delivery; extracellular vesicle; gene therapy; cancer; immunity

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Marcus, M.E.; Leonard, J.N. FedExosomes: Engineering Therapeutic Biological Nanoparticles that Truly Deliver. Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6, 659-680.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Pharmaceuticals EISSN 1424-8247 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top