Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a respiratory condition associated with persistent respiratory problems, considerable airflow blockage that is not completely reversible and gradual, and characteristics of chronic airway inflammation in the lungs as a result of irritant particles or gases. It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is commonly persistent in heavy smokers. Currently, there is no cure for COPD, however, the progression of the disease can be halted by bronchodilators, lifestyle changes, medicines and therapies. Wheezing, exhaustion, and persistent coughing are some of the common symptoms of COPD.
Researchers from the 1980s found that all the healthy cells release little, membrane-wrapped bundles which were termed exosomes. When exosomes are released to journey outside of the cell, they carry a variety of proteins and RNA as part of their cargo from their origin deep inside cells. It has been discovered that COPD patients have an elevated level of exosomes circulating in their blood, which is particularly common in smokers.
Therapeutic Potential of Exosomes Therapy
Lately, several researchers have discovered that exosomes may have therapeutic value in the treatment of COPD. Early research indicates that stem cells-derived exosomes can help with tissue healing, and some researchers are considering designing these vesicles to deliver medications to damaged tissues of the lungs.
The exosome therapy for COPD is advancing rapidly due to improvements in methodology over the last few years and increased scientific agreement on the need to establish standards for research on exosomes for various therapeutic purposes. The possibility of using exosome therapy as a diagnostic biomarker has long been anticipated due to the fact that secretes multiple compounds that help in repairing the damaged cells of the body. Also, extracellular vesicle composition may provide insight into a person’s propensity to develop emphysema.
Treatment of COPD with Exosomes
Several preclinical studies have demonstrated that MSC-derived exosomes have shown positive effects on reducing the clinical symptoms of COPD and other respiratory diseases. Some of these symptomatic improvements include:
- Reduced inflammation in the lungs
- Improvement in breathing issues
- Better stamina and less tiredness
- Enhancement in the body’s capacity of circulating oxygen
Exosomes therapy has not just shown positive effects on COPD but also on other pulmonary diseases including post-covid complications, acute respiratory lung distress (ARDS) and interstitial lung disease (ILD).
Currently, bronchodilators and other medications are used to treat COPD in order to manage symptoms but little is developed to prevent the underlying tissue damage repair and causes of COPD. Cell therapies including exosomes produced by stem cells may be more effective than using stem cells alone, because exosomes may be able to travel in ways that cells cannot!