Advances, challenges, and opportunities in extracellular RNA biology: insights from the NIH exRNA Strategic Workshop

JCI Insight. 2018 Apr 5;3(7):e98942. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.98942.


Extracellular RNA (exRNA) has emerged as an important transducer of intercellular communication. Advancing exRNA research promises to revolutionize biology and transform clinical practice. Recent efforts have led to cutting-edge research and expanded knowledge of this new paradigm in cell-to-cell crosstalk; however, gaps in our understanding of EV heterogeneity and exRNA diversity pose significant challenges for continued development of exRNA diagnostics and therapeutics. To unravel this complexity, the NIH convened expert teams to discuss the current state of the science, define the significant bottlenecks, and brainstorm potential solutions across the entire exRNA research field. The NIH Strategic Workshop on Extracellular RNA Transport helped identify mechanistic and clinical research opportunities for exRNA biology and provided recommendations on high priority areas of research that will advance the exRNA field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / genetics*
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Congresses as Topic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Extracellular Space / genetics
  • Extracellular Space / immunology
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology*
  • Humans
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • RNA / immunology
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • Translational Medical Research / methods
  • United States


  • RNA