Purified exosomal product heals ischemic wounds in pre-clinical models

Researchers have found that ischemic wounds in pre-clinical models which were treated with a purified exosomal product were healed.

Exosomes for ischemic wounds

Difficult-to-treat, chronic wounds in pre-clinical models were healed with normal scar-free skin after treatment with a novel acellular product discovered at the Mayo Clinic, US. Derived from platelets, the purified exosomal product (PEP) was used to deliver healing messages into cells of animal models of ischemic wounds

According to the researchers, ischemic wounds occur when arteries are clogged or blocked, preventing important nutrients and oxygen from reaching the skin to drive repair. 

“This paper documents that PEP, an off-the-shelf, room-temperature-stable exosome, is capable of healing wounds that are depleted of adequate blood supply. Wounds healed with only a single application of exosome,” said Dr Steven Moran, senior co-author on the study. “I was surprised that this product regenerated healthy skin with normal biomechanical properties – not scar tissue. As this technology is now scaled and biomanufactured for clinical applications, it creates the potential for huge advancement in medical science and the field of plastic surgery.”

The PEP is an extracellular vesicle that delivers cargo from one cell to another, targeting exact tissues in need of repair. This technology is manufactured under strict quality control measures and formulated as a dry powder to enable long-term storage at room temperature. In the operating room or at the bedside, the powder is mixed with a hydrogel solution on site and can be applied directly to the wound. Unlike cellular products, it does not have to be sent to an outside laboratory to be cultured and scaled.

The research team replicated wounds with low blood supply in large animal models. They treated some of the wounds with the PEP and compared them to wounds that were treated with the hydrogel alone. They found wounds treated with the PEP were able to heal with skin restored to its normal architecture.

“What we see with this technology is not just that the wound is closed, but also that the blood supply to the tissue is restored. Our effort culminating in the development of this exosomal technology was to create a therapy that can be offered to all patients in need through elimination of logistical limitations often seen with more traditional regenerative therapy,” said Dr Atta Behfar, senior author of the study. “Our research hopes to answer whether this can be a new healing solution for patients suffering with non-healing chronic wounds.” 

“We found that this exosome therapy has the ability to enhance regeneration of blood vessels in damaged tissues. Without treatment, chronic ischemic wounds grow larger and more problematic,” said Dr Ao Shi, first author of the study.

The study is published in Theranostics.

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