Research

The EV group studies extracellular vesicles (EVs), submicron membrane vesicles released by most cells (mammalians to prokaryotes), that are present in all body fluids, but also e.g., in oceans. Since EVs shuttle parent cell -derived molecules (proteins, lipids,metabolites and nucleic acids) to other cells changing their phenotype and function, they can be described as extracellular organelles with a communicative function. The physiological role of EVs centers on heterogeneous cell communication, but EVs may provide cells with a homeostatic way for self-regulation by e.g., disposing of unwanted material. The dynamic molecular reservoir of EVs present a unique way for cells to regulate multicellular stepwise processes such as immune surveillance, blood coagulation, wound healing, angiogenesis and tissue regeneration. In diseases from cardiovascular to cancer, EVs similarly mediate mechanistic processes critical for pathogenesis.

EV group is part of the Cancer Unit for Research for Expermental Drugs (CURED)

plateletvesicle

Due to the recent and fast expansion of the EV field, the used isolation and characterization methods are extremely variable, or non-existent. Therefore, several technological aspects need to be addressed relating to the production, preanalytics, isolation, purification, standardization of measurements and improved characterization. Also issues relating to the small sample size and large number of samples, such as in cohort/biobank samples, need to be resolved. We are solving these issues as we progress with the individual research projects of the group members, and we also target these issues directly in the EV core where the EV group collaborates with Dr. Maija Puhka in the Finnish Institute of Molecular Medicine (FIMM) .

Isolation of Platelet-Derived Extracellular Vesicles

KeepEX, a simple dilution protocol for improving extracellular vesicle yields from urine

Biological reference materials for extracellular vesicle studies

The molecular cargo of the EVs varies extensively depending on the cellular source, EV type and the way of formation (constitutive/ activation) and in time. The generic EV molecules and functions need to be defined before EV-borne disease-specific biomarkers or therapeutic targets can be identified. Cancer and platelet EVs provide promising sources for biomarkers. The former are cancer type –specific, present in increased amounts, and enriched in tumor promoting biomolecules (miRNA, mRNA, DNA, proteins and metabolites). The latter, are the largest EV population in plasma, rich in many transferable biomolecules including lipids, cytokines, enzymes and RNA.

Dissecting the functional effects of EV crosstalk between cells may help to identify new biomarkers of disease or EV-mediated physiopathological targets for novel drug strategies. 

Distinct prostate cancer-related mRNA cargo in extracellular vesicle subsets from prostate cell lines

Biological properties of extracellular vesicles and their physiological functions

Isolation and characterization of platelet-derived extracellular vesicles

 

Already EVs are considered for therapeutic applications due to their cargo and efficient delivery into cells. Since EVs can carry both auto- and allogenic molecules, EV-based drug vehicles have certain advantages over current artificial delivery systems e.g. due to their ability to cross the blood-brain-barrier. Natural exosomes are also investigated for their endogenous homing capacity e.g. as siRNA delivery vehicles. Stem cell -derived EVs hold promise as natural therapeutics due to their immune tolerance inducing capacity and the potential for sustainable production.

Microvesicle- and exosome- mediated drug delivery enhances the cytotoxicity of Paclitaxel in autologous prostate cancer cells

EV group collaborates with many national and international researchers.

 

Dr. Saara Laitinen and Dr. Erja Kerkelä, Finnish Red Cros Blood Service

Dr. Annamari Ranki, University of Helsinki

Dr. Kirsi Rilla, University of Eastern Finland

Dr. Kati Öörni, Wihuri Research Institute

Prof. Marjo Yliperttula, University of Helsinki

 

Dr. Rienk Nieuwland, The Academic Medical Center, Netherlands

Prof. Jan Lötval, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

 

Through COST action ME-HaD 

Prof. Juan Falcón-Pérez, CIC bioGUNE, Spain

Prof. Edit Buzás, Semmelweis University, Hungary