Research News


NIH grant to study exosomes

Mar 18, 2019, 00:00 AM by Department of Pediatrics

Congratulations to Dr. Casola's team on NIH grant to study exosomes.
Congratulations UTMB Pediatric Researchers on your efforts to get more insight into how viral infections can produce profound changes in exosomes. The past 10 years or so have been big for the exosome. Once thought to just be a waste offloading device, exosomes today, take center stage as messengers, micro-vesicle or cargo carriers that reshapes tissue based on its cargo or biologically active molecules. The cargo is comprised of molecules of RNA, proteins, lipids and DNA. Sometimes viral infections can induce profound changes in exosome composition. Sometimes they are partly-responsible for spreading infection in one’s body and bringing forth diseases that make people sick. No information is currently available regarding exosome composition and function during infection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), the most important cause of lower respiratory tract infections in children.

Dr. Casola and her team has received an NIH grant to continue studying exosomes to understand better what the inflammatory response is and how this can be trained or tamed for good. For example, the data suggests, but is not yet conclusive, that exosomes may play an important role in furthering illness or in protecting us from illness. These data suggest that exosomes may play an important role in pathogenesis or protection against disease, therefore understating their role in RSV infection may open new avenues for target identification and development of new or novel therapies. If they protect against disease than a vaccine or new drug might be developed. If the exosome play a role in pathogenesis, than perhaps we can do things to block it or tame it.

Also see:  Clinical and Experimental Immunology and Infectious Diseases (CEIID)