Aug 27, 2020
Dr. Di Vizio studies
extracellular vesicles and their
role in cancer. In this podcast, she explains what we know about
the mechanism of extracellular vesicles and what challenges still
stand in fully understanding their roles.
Dr. Dolores Di Vizio is a
professor of Surgery, Biomedical Sciences and Pathology and
Laboratory Medicine at Cedars-Sinai. She explains for listeners the
fundamentals of extracellular vesicles, also known as EVs. They're
small pockets of cellular material covered by a lipid layer
released by all cells in the body.
They become important mechanisms for intercellular communication because they can reach the blood. Scientists find them very appealing targets for biomarkers in liquid biopsies. She explains that most EV studies have occurred with a large concentration of these vesicles, so the effects often reveal as significant. Now as scientists look at animal models without an excess of the EVs, the results are a lot harder to verify and understand.
She describes the variety and
types of EVs, like exosomes, and delves into her own research into
exosomes and cancer. She's working on studies to see how a large EV
from prostate cancer cells, known as oncosomes, plays a role in
prostate cancer with gene alterations and transcription factors
that seem to facilitate tumor progression. Her lab is also working
with bone marrow stem cells, as bone marrow is a major site for
metastases. They're trying to understand these interaction better
so researchers can prepare natural vesicles for therapeutics and
make them go to a specific organ for treatment rather than another
Her lab is also working on clinical tests for cancer treatment, identifying cancer-specific biomarkers enclosed in EVs to be applied to a clinical setting. This could identify signs of cancer, stages of disease, the potential for cancer to became metastatic, and reveal results of therapy.