Released by nearly every cell type in the body and a vital mediator of cellular activities, exosomes are nano-sized, membrane-enclosed vesicles that are filled with select molecules. These molecules include proteins and microRNAs, which send messages to neighboring cells to regulate cellular functions. Exosomes are versatile nanoparticles that exhibit stable, durable and deliverable properties, making them effective at transmitting cell signals. They are present in bodily fluids, accessible and can be readily isolated from cells.
Exosomes act as a transport vehicle out of the cell for segments of genetic material and proteins that act as messengers between cells, ultimately providing a regulatory function for many cell processes, including inflammation, angiogenesis, programmed cell death (apoptosis), and scarring.
Research has shown that exosomes derived from cultured cells can be used as therapeutic agents aimed to direct or, in some cases, re-direct cellular activities. Their size, ease in crossing cell membranes and their ability to communicate in the native language of the cell makes them a class of exciting and novel therapeutic agents.
Capricor has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for intellectual property (IP) related to the development of exosomes as a potential regenerative medicine therapeutic platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Capricor has been granted an exclusive world-wide license by Cedars-Sinai to IP related to exosomes originating from cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs).
Groundbreaking preclinical research by Eduardo Marbán, M.D., Ph.D., published in Stem Cell Reports (2014), has demonstrated that exosomes extracted from Capricor’s CDCs reduced scar tissue caused by a heart attack and prompted myocardial regeneration in preclinical models of ischemic heart disease. In addition, the exosomes were shown to induce various structural and functional changes within the heart. Results seen with CDC-derived exosomes were similar to those observed with CDCs alone. This research demonstrates for the first time that exosomes derived from CDCs possess regenerative capabilities and serve as proof of principle for their potential as therapeutic agents. Capricor plans to explore development of the exosome technology as a next generation regenerative medicine platform in a variety of cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular areas.