As we continue our journey through the realm of regenerative medicine, we should take special interest in a relatively new item in the toolbelt. This tool are the exosomes. What are exosomes you ask, great question. Exosome are extracellular (outside the cell) vesicles that are released from stem cells. Think of nanometer sized bubble. Several functions of the exosome are to carry genetic information, carry proteins, and build paths for cellular communication
Exosomes sound fancy, how are they obtained. Human stem cells are donated, some of these donated cells are used for the extraction of exosomes. Once the donated then extracted exosomes are sterilized and screen for pathogens, they are ready for use. This would be a similar process to the amniotic fluid, Wharton’s Jelly, and umbilical cord blood options that we spoke of in a prior article.
Proteins, mRNA, cytokines, and lipids are encompassed into the exosome solutions. These solutions can be administered by IV or can be injected directly into the areas that are damaged. Think of someone with tennis elbow, the exosome solution can be administered directly into the common extensor tendon. My preferred method would be to utilize an ultrasound so I can visualize the tendon and the needle, this allows for optimal results.
Uses are similar to those of other regenerative products. Exosomes carry 3x more growth factor than adult stem cells, making them more potent and better able to heal damaged tissue. Damaged tissue would include, but isn’t limited to, chondromalacia torn ligaments or tendons, inflamed bursas, torn or strained muscles, and have even been used for nerve cellular repairs. Exosomes, and other regenerative options can help heal, fill, and seal tissue voids.