Senior Lecturer, Sackler Faculty of Medicine
Exosomes, nanosized particles formed by different types of cells, carry a cargo of proteins and nucleic acids that is delivered to neighboring cells. Our lab studies the role of exosomes in cell to cell communication and the potential use of exosomal cargo as biomarkers for diagnostics and follow-up of patients with cancer.
Previously, we found that exosomes derived from neoplastic cells contain hTERT transcript of telomerase. Furthermore, this transcript is actively translated and mediates canonical and non-canonical functions in the recipient cells. In parallel we have found that in cancer patients, about 2/3 of the sera derived exosomes contain detectable telomerase transcript. Currently we follow the presence of telomerase in exosomes isolated from patients with lung cancer, breast cancer and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in response to treatment.
We also correlate the GBM disease stage with the presence of mutations at telomerase promoter as well. We study also other types of cargos that are delivered by exosomes as well. Additionally, we are studying the crosstalk of exosomes isolated from cancer cells and cells of their microenvironment.