Identification of the immunomodulatory and regenerative properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have made them an attractive alternative therapeutic option for diseases with no effective treatment options. Numerous clinical trials have followed; however, issues such as infusional toxicity and cellular rejection have been reported. To address these problems associated with cell-based therapy, MSC exosome therapy was developed and has shown promising clinical outcomes. MSC exosomes are nanosized vesicles secreted from MSCs and represent a non-cellular therapeutic agent. MSC exosomes retain therapeutic features of the cells from which they originated including genetic material, lipids, and proteins. Similar to MSCs, exosomes can induce cell differentiation, immunoregulation, angiogenesis, and tumor suppression. MSC exosomes have therefore been employed in several experimental models and clinical studies. Here, we review the therapeutic potential of MSC-derived exosomes and summarize currently ongoing clinical trials according to disease type. In addition, we propose several functional enhancement strategies for the effective clinical application of MSC exosome therapy.
Keywords: angiogenesis; clinical trials; exosome therapy; immunomodulation; regeneration.