Investigator: Muneesh Tewari, MD, PhD–Assistant Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington
Exosomal RNAs as Serum Prostate Cancer Biomarkers—Personalized Treatment and Better Prognostic Indicators May Become Reality Through MicroRNA Tumor Profiling
Dr. Tewari and colleagues have discovered that cancer cells shed tiny vesicles from their membrane, much like humans shed hair or dead skin. These vesicles, termed exosomes, package a sampling of the molecular milieu found within the cancer cell and can be captured in blood. Enveloped within the exosomes are molecules that carry important information about the cancer called microRNAs and mRNAs. Identifying and quantifying these molecules real time in a patient has the potential of guiding therapy decisions. Dr. Tewari’s project goal was to optimize the technology for isolating exosomes and extracting their content to define the molecular profile a patient’s prostate cancer. The team has developed a novel method of physically stimulating the release of exosomes from prostate cancer cells. They are currently testing and validating this new technology in mouse models before proceeding to studies with patient specimens.