We Accelerate Discovery

You are here


Program Snapshot

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.

Read more


Program Highlights ​

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.

Read about microRNAs and liver disease.

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).

Read about exRNA released by glioblastomas  

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.

Read about the ERCC papers.

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.

Read about exRNAs as biomarkers.

New Award Announcement!

The ExRNA Communication program is supporting the 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 will focus on testing and validation.

To learn more about these awards, visit our Funded Research page or the web announcement from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).






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 Exit Disclaimer, and be sure to check back often as new content is added!



Learn more about Unlocking the Mysteries of Extracellular RNA Communication
Videos on Extracellular RNA

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? Exit Disclaimer
Part 2: The History and Promise of Exosomes Exit Disclaimer
Part 3: Exosomes in Cancer Research Exit Disclaimer
Part 4: Curiosity and a Passion for Science Exit Disclaimer
Part 5: Collaboration - The Key to Scientific Success Exit Disclaimer
Part 6: Exosomes - The Next Small Thing Exit Disclaimer


Ribonucleic acid

Up to Top