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As a Ph.D. student at Oxford University, Scott Bonner’s work aims to examine extracellular vesicle (EV) heterogeneity and what it might teach us about the therapeutic function of EVs.

He explains the following:

  • How many EVs one cell can produce, and why it is difficult albeit possible to examine singular vesicle phenotypes
  • How significant a role EVs play in communication between cells, and what other methods cells use for intercellular communication
  • How certain EV purification methods might disrupt the integrity of an EV itself by altering its shape and/or therapeutic potential

Extracellular vesicles hold great potential as a therapeutic delivery platform and might provide therapy for everything from broken bones to complicated disease processes like cancer. In addition, they could be used to package and deliver drugs to very specific regions in the body without running the risk of being hindered by the immune system, thereby providing greater efficacy than what’s currently seen with drugs administered conventionally.

Scott Bonner shares what compelled him to pursue a career in EV-based research, and how his interest was jump-started by his time as a research assistant for Evox Therapeutics, a company that is now well-known in the field of exosome and EV-based therapeutics.

Bonner’s current research aims to better understand vesicle heterogeneity and involves the creation of single-cell clones of a particular cell type that are grown separate from all other cells and cell types. Over time, the expectation is that the phenotypes of these cells will drift apart—even if only slightly—and that this could provide insight into how differences in EV phenotype affect EV function.

Ultimately, the findings could provide the industry with valuable information about the physical characteristics of EVs that hold the potential to therapeutically affect specific disease processes, such as breast cancer.

A number of interesting topics are explored, so tune in, and email your questions or comments to scott.bonner@wolfson.ox.ac.uk.

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