Since it became evident that Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) have the ability to functionally exchange
biomolecular signals between cells, interest in these nanosized vesicles has grown exponentially,
leading to the identification of a plethora of physiological processes in which EVs are involved.
Because of their natural function as carriers of macromolecular components, they also have
attracted the interest of drug delivery scientists. Although some PoC reports on the use of EVs as
carrier for therapeutic nucleic acids have appeared in the literature, still critical information is
lacking to efficiently exploit EVs for treating specific diseases.
The major objective of this project is to deepen our understanding and map the cell tropism of EVs
with the aim to use this information for targeted drug delivery. The project proposal is divided into
three work packages: (1) Optimize EV loading and labeling using photoporation as a new
transfection platform, (2) gain insight in the cell interaction specificity of EVs and (3) evaluate their
efficacy and targeting specificity as drug delivery vehicles. We anticipate that photoporation can
become a standard enabling platform technology for EV loading and tracking studies and that the
obtained data can lead to the rational development of improved EV drug delivery systems.