Nano-Extracellular Vesicles and Organ Dysfunction

Fibrosis is the common pathological feature of most chronic inflammatory diseases, where extensive tissue remodeling, following damage, leads to loss of the functional parenchyma. The resulting organ failure is the most frequent cause of morbidity and mortality recorded in Europe and the United States in recent decades. The burden associated with fibrosis is indeed staggering, accounting for about 40% of all deaths attributed to heart, lung, kidney and liver fibrotic diseases. Recent studies have shown that fibrosis is caused by epigenetic modifications and suggest the possibility of a reversibility of the process through the interference of these modifications.

Stem cells have shown, in in vitro studies and in in vivo experiments, on animal models of organ pathology, to be able to attenuate the fibrotic evolution by interacting with the metabolic “pathways” at different levels through a paracrine mechanism mainly supported by nano – extracellular vesicles (nEVs). Unicyte AG in collaboration with the University of Turin, project partner, has shown that nEVs released by stem cells can reprogram the phenotype of damaged cells and activate regenerative processes by transferring RNA, proteins and lipids.

The objectives of the project:

Evaluate the potential of stem cell-derived nEVs to modify the pro-fibrotic phenotype and inhibit the progression of chronic damage in preclinical models of hepatic and renal fibrosis.

Identify the molecular mechanisms involved in cellular reprogramming by studying the gene profile of damaged tissues before and after treatment with nEVs in order to identify the "pathways" involved and modified by the treatment

Develop nEVs engineered with anti-fibrotic molecules and used as a therapy vehicle

Develop large-scale GMP production technology platforms of nEVs, using the Cell Factory of the Molecular Biotechnology Center to study biodistribution and biosecurity in preclinical models, as a function of a potential clinical application

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