The Extracellular RNA Communication program is exploring the biology of extracellular RNA (exRNA). Once thought to exist only within cells, in a paradigm shift for science, RNA is now known to be exported from cells as “extracellular RNA” and to play a role in cell-to-cell communication. Since its founding, the program has established data standards, a data portal, and tools and reagents available to the scientific community. The program cataloged exRNA molecules found in human biofluids like plasma, saliva, and urine from over 2000 donors. It also identified potential exRNA biomarkers for nearly 30 diseases, including cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, glaucoma, diabetes, and multiple types of cancer.
The program was approved for a second phase in 2019 to focus on challenges in the field. In many ways, opening the door to understanding more about exRNA created new appreciation of the complicated mix of exRNA types and their ‘carriers.’ The study of exRNA and the larger field of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs), one of the major “carriers” of exRNA, has also been stymied by uniform ways to isolate and characterize EVs and their molecular contents, like RNA. The second phase of the program aims to develop separation technologies to rapidly sort different types of EV from biofluids as well as develop techniques to sort and isolate single EVs. Shedding light on the diversity of exRNAs carried by different types of EVs will increase understanding of the precise role of exRNAs as signaling molecules for biological processes, ultimately accelerating development of exRNAs as therapeutics and diagnostics.
The ExRNA Communication Consortium Research Portal contains information about the program, funded research, publications, resources, upcoming events, and a blog about the latest advances in exRNA research. Visit the exRNA Consortium website , and be sure to check back often as new content is added!
The Extracellular RNA Communication Consortium (ERCC) webinar series provides researchers studying extracellular RNA and extracellular vesicles the opportunity to present their latest work to a diverse audience. Webinars occur on the first Thursday of each month (except August) at 10 am Pacific / 12 noon Central / 1 pm Eastern time.
Check back for updated information on speakers.
Please use this Webex link to attend:
Meeting number (access code):
620 837 429
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