Once thought to exist only within cells, RNA is now known to be exported from cells and play a role in newly discovered mechanisms of cell-to-cell communication. The Common Fund’s Extracellular RNA Communication (ERC) program aims to discover fundamental biological principles about the mechanisms of extracellular RNA (exRNA) generation, secretion, and transport; to identify and develop a catalogue of exRNA in normal human body fluids; and to investigate the potential for using exRNAs as therapeutic molecules or biomarkers of disease.
Complex and Diverse RNA Found in Human Plasma
Until recently, most studies of extracellular RNA (exRNA) in human body fluids have investigated samples from only a handful of individuals and focused mainly on a single type of exRNA
Uncovering Key Pathways and Players in Extracellular RNA Sorting
RNA carried in Extracellular Vehicles (EVs) and transported to neighboring or distant cells in the body can influence gene expression and other cellular process. However, not much is known about the mechanisms involved in the underlying processes
Noninvasive Therapeutic Agents for Brain Cancers Show Promise in Mouse Studies
Gaining access to the brain is a major obstacle for central nervous system drug development and delivery and non-invasive approaches are currently greatly needed. Read more about how research supported by the Extracellular RNA Communication Program is laying the foundation for the possibility of using extracellular RNAs (exRNAs) to treat brain cancers and other diseases.
Levels of microRNAs in the Blood can be Used to Monitor Development of Alcoholic Hepatitis
Research from the NIH Common Fund’s Extracellular RNA Communication program has discovered how levels of particular extracellular microRNAs in the blood can indicate the presence of liver damage and inflammation associated with chronic alcohol abuse.
Glioblastoma Cells use Extracellular RNA to Influence Normal Cells in the Brain
Glioblastomas, the most common type of brain tumor, are particularly aggressive and difficult to treat. Extracellular RNA Communication researchers are studying how the tumor cells can manipulate the healthy cells around them by using extracellular RNA (exRNA).
NIH Consortium is Advancing our Understanding of Extracellular RNA Communication
The Common Fund-supported Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium (ERCC) has published six manuscripts in a recent special issue of the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, providing the scientific community with information about the expected outcomes of this new scientific program and detailing major progress to date.
Insights into Potential exRNA Biomarkers for Breast Cancer
Researchers supported by the Common Fund's Extracellular RNA Communication program are gaining new insight into the potential for some types of extracellular RNA called microRNA (miRNA) to influence cancer progression.
The ExRNA Communication program has begun a second phase of awards exploring the use of extracellular RNAs as biomarkers for disease or potential therapeutics. The first phase of these awards focused on discovery and feasibility, while the second phase is focusing on testing and validation.
ExRNA Research Portal Launched!
The ExRNA Communication Consortium has launched the ExRNA Research Portal. This website contains information about the program, funded research, publications, resources, upcoming events, and a blog about the latest advances in exRNA research. Visit this site at exrna.org, and be sure to check back often as new content is added!
Learn more about Unlocking the Mysteries of Extracellular RNA Communication here
Watch a mini documentary series on Exosomes by Life TechnologiesCorp, featuring several ExRNA Communication grantees and Working Group members!
Part 1: What is an Exosome?
Part 2: The History and Promise of Exosomes
Part 3: Exosomes in Cancer Research
Part 4: Curiosity and a Passion for Science
Part 5: Collaboration - The Key to Scientific Success
Part 6: Exosomes - The Next Small Thing