Expedition into Exosome Biology: A Perspective of Progress from Discovery to Therapeutic Development

Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 8;13(5):1157. doi: 10.3390/cancers13051157.


Exosomes are membrane-enclosed distinct cellular entities of endocytic origin that shuttle proteins and RNA molecules intercellularly for communication purposes. Their surface is embossed by a huge variety of proteins, some of which are used as diagnostic markers. Exosomes are being explored for potential drug delivery, although their therapeutic utilities are impeded by gaps in knowledge regarding their formation and function under physiological condition and by lack of methods capable of shedding light on intraluminal vesicle release at the target site. Nonetheless, exosomes offer a promising means of developing systems that enable the specific delivery of therapeutics in diseases like cancer. This review summarizes information on donor cell types, cargoes, cargo loading, routes of administration, and the engineering of exosomal surfaces for specific peptides that increase target specificity and as such, therapeutic delivery.

Keywords: antigen; cancer; exosomes; immune response; therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review