Based on work on extracellular microvesicles, a research team led by Kazan Federal University in Russia has derived from human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a potential new form of cell-free therapy. The scientific collaborative continues to probe the therapeutic potential for artificial microvesicles for autoimmune diseases.
TrialSite News breaks this recent early-stage research for what is hopefully an easier, simpler overview of this important research effort.
What are Extracellular Microvesicles (ECMVs)?
For many years, microvesicles have been implicated in a role for inflammation. In the case of ECMVs, they are released from the cell membrane. They are a microstructure surrounded by a cytoplasm membrane, and have proven to represent a prospective therapeutic tool in regenerative medicine due to 1) biocompatibility 2) miniature size 3) safety and 4) regenerative properties. Hence, they can be utilized to circumvent the limitations of existing cell therapies without loss of utility, according to Drug Target Review.
In multicellular organisms, microvesicles and other extracellular vesicles (EVs) are found in both tissues and many types of body fluids. They can be small as the smallest EVs (30 nm in diameter) or as large as 1000 nm. They are larger than Exosomes. Microvesicles play a role in intercellular communication and can transport molecules such as mRNA, miRNA, and proteins between cells.
Although many initially dismissed as cellular debris, microvesicles may reflect the antigenic content of the cell of origin and could play a role in cell signaling. They are implicated in several physiologic processes, such as anti-tumor effects, tumor-immune suppression, metastasis, angiogenesis, and tissue regeneration. Moreover, it has been found that microvesicles could remove misfolded proteins, cytotoxic agents, and metabolic waste from the cell—some posit that changes in microvesicle levels could point to diseases such as cancer.
Potential clinical applications include 1) detection of cancer, 2) microvesicles and rheumatoid arthritis, 3) biological markers for disease, and 4) mechanism for drug delivery.
What are Existing Challenges with Cell Therapy?
As they are grafts or implants of living tissue (e.g., bone marrow transplant), cell therapies are used to replace and regenerate damaged organ tissue. With a considerable amount of restraint and limited applicability today, as they operate differently depending on various conditions and the environment, they are placed. Moreover, the human system frequently rejects them.
The Study Summary
The recent Kazan Federal University-led study (also involved scientists from the UK, Nigeria, and the USA) investigated cytochalasin B-induced membrane vesicles (CIMVs)—derived from MSCs and similar to ECMVs. Based on observing and characterizing the biological activity of MSC-derived CIMVs, the team found biologically active molecules such as growth factors, cytokines as well as chemokines in CIMVs. The team found evidence that CIMV could stimulate angiogenesis in a similar way as stem cells.
The Study Conclusion
The team concluded that human CIMVs-MSCs could be harnessed for cell-free therapy of degenerative diseases. As reported in Drug Target Review, the induction of therapeutic angiogenesis is necessary for the treating ischemic tissue damage (such as ischemic heart disease, hind limb ischemia, diabetic angiopathies, and trophic ulcers) and neurodegenerative diseases (such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease) not to mention treatments for peripheral nerve or spinal cord injury.
Kazan Federal University (Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology)
Kazan Federal University was founded in 1804 as Imperial Karzan University and in 2010 received federal status. It is one of 15 Russian universities that were initially selected to participate in the Project 5-100, coordinated by the Russian Federation government to improve international competitiveness among the world’s leading research and educational centers. Over 50,000 students attend the university. The Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology represents one of the most intensively developing institutes within the university. With 60 subdivisions, it is home to significant research endeavors.
Marina O. Gomzikova, Kazan Federal University, Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology; Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Margarita N. Zhuravleva, Kazan Federal University, Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology
Vyacheslav V. Vorobev, Kazan Federal University, Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology
Call to Action: This collaborative research reports they are continuing their research into the therapeutic potential for artificial microvesicles for autoimmune disease.