Extracellular vesicles from a natural source for tailor-made nanomaterials
In the research project "Ves4Us", researchers from Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and Slovenia are working on a new approach for tailor-made nanocarriers in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz. The project focuses on extracellular vesicles, which are produced by cells from a renewable plant-based source. They are mainly used for inter-cell communication, so they are excreted by certain cells and taken up by other cells. Therefore, in their characteristics, for example their surface, they are very similar to the excreting cells. As a result, the vesicles have the best prerequisites for a very good biocompatibility and the required long circulation time in the body.
The aim of the project "Ves4Us" is to generate extracellular vesicles in large quantities. At the MPI-P, the surface of isolated EVs is engineered to equip these vesicles with a kind of "address label", so that they can act in the body at precisely defined places. For this purpose, certain proteins are attached to the vesicle surface, enabling prolonged blood circulation, the crossing of biological barriers or the targeting of certain tissues.
The project runs for three years under the European Horizon2020 program FET-OPEN.