Nature Outlook |

Extracellular RNA

RNA is finding a new role in medicine. Once thought to exist only within cells, the molecule is now known to travel all over the body, under the protection of ‘extracellular vesicles’. Scientists are studying the potential of extracellular RNA for detecting and treating disease.

Features and comment

RNA is now known to travel outside cells to tissues around the body. Researchers are working out whether they can exploit this extracellular RNA to detect and treat disease.

Outlook | | Nature

Vesicles secreted by stem cells might give clinicians a safer and simpler alternative to cell therapy, but researchers are still grappling with how best to prepare and study these tiny particles.

Outlook | | Nature

More from Nature Research

Extracellular vesicles (EV) facilitate intercellular transfer of biological material including RNA, but the regulatory mechanisms for their formation and transfer are incompletely known. Here the authors develop a CRISPR-based reporting system to detect the transfer of guide RNAs and identify genes not previously linked to EV-mediated RNA delivery.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Communications

Adult stem cell companies are pivoting their businesses to commercialize exosomes as therapeutics.

News Feature | | Nature Biotechnology

Mutant KRAS is a common driver of pancreatic cancer, and decreasing its expression with siRNA is a potential strategy to forestall pancreatic tumour growth. To improve delivery of short interfering RNA to the pancreas, Raghu Kalluri and colleagues harness exosomes and show that these endogenous vesicles can bypass immune clearance better than artificial liposomes, probably owing to expression of CD47 in their membrane. The iExosomes are uptaken preferentially by pancreatic tumour cells. The authors suggest that this uptake is facilitated by increased macropinocytosis. iExosomes are able to reduce KRAS oncogenic signalling and reduce tumour growth in mouse models of pancreatic cancer.

Article | | Nature