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Setting a Cornerstone for Platform Purification of Exosomes

Pete Gagnon, Katja Vrabec, Tjaša Lojpur, and Aleš Štrancar

BioProcess International, 18 (4) April 2020


Exosomes are a subject of rapidly growing therapeutic interest in the biopharmaceutical industry for two principal reasons. The first reason is that they are the primary communicators of instructions from source cells to target cells. Exosome surface features define their destination. They recognize complementary features on target cells, dock with them, and deliver their programmed instructions in the form of microRNA. The second reason is that exosomes are immunologically silent. As normal human cell products, and by contrast with gene therapy vectors such as virus particles, exosomes bypass the issue of triggering an immune response that might interfere with therapy.

Source cells include stem cells, which is why exosomes are of particular interest in the field of regenerative medicine. Recent research documenting the ability of exosomes to reverse the effects of severe strokes highlights their potential. It also underlines the need for scalable purification technology to advance these products through clinical trials and on to licensed manufacture. A platform approach was a major factor in the initial and continuing success of monoclonal antibodies. Exosomes likewise represent an extended family of individual products with similar properties. It stands to reason that a platform approach will prove equally valuable for exosomes. In this article we describe initial efforts toward that goal.

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