The discovery of the role of extracellular vesicles (EV) as specific communicators between the cells and the extracellular matrix has changed our understanding on the human physiology. These tiny plasma membrane-derived particles are like fingerprints from the original cells. They carry a similar set of molecules as the original cells, and changes in physiological or pathological situations are reflected in their number and molecular composition. They are secreted into the extracellular matrix and all body fluids, where they act as easily available biomarkers for early diagnosis and follow-up of disease progression. Additionally, they are promising vehicles for drug targeting.
Research group description
We utilize modern high resolution, 3-dimensional and live cell bioimaging techniques and their combinations, and develop state-of-the-art biochemical and microscopic methods for EV detection and analysis. We are investigating the impact of ECM molecules and adhesion receptors, such as hyaluronan and CD44 on the EV biogenesis, traffic and interactions with their target cells. The ultimate goal of this project is to increase the understanding on the basic biology of EV which helps to develop novel methods for drug delivery, treatments and diagnostics.
Scientific and Societal Impact of Research
EV are promising tools for early diagnostics of cancer and other widespread diseases, like various types of inflammation, metabolic diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Their presence in all body fluids like plasma and urine enables their non-invasive detection from liquid biopsies, which provides an opportunity to get a comprehensive view on the status of the patient, instead of limited sample obtained with fixed biopsies. Furthermore, EV act as promising tools for cell-free therapy of damaged, slowly regenerating tissues, such as cartilage. In addition to their prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic value, EV act as important regulators of the human physiology both in health and disease.
Group members - UEF
Kirsi Rilla Senior Researcher , School of Medicine, Biomedicine
Johanna Matilainen Early Stage Researcher , School of Medicine, Biomedicine
Sanjeev Ranjan Researcher , School of Medicine, Biomedicine
Sanna Oikari University Teacher , School of Medicine, Biomedicine
Taija Hukkanen Bioanalyst , School of Medicine, Biomedicine
Niina Aaltonen Postdoctoral Researcher , School of Medicine, Biomedicine
Other group members