Author + information
- Received September 25, 2017
- Revision received October 23, 2017
- Accepted November 6, 2017
- Published online January 8, 2018.
- Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD∗ ()
- ↵∗Address for correspondence:
Dr. Eduardo Marbán, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, 8700 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90048.
Mechanistic exploration has pinpointed nanosized extracellular vesicles, known as exosomes, as key mediators of the benefits of cell therapy. Exosomes appear to recapitulate the benefits of cells and more. As durable azoic entities, exosomes have numerous practical and conceptual advantages over cells. Will cells end up just being used to manufacture exosomes, or will they find lasting value as primary therapeutic agents? Here, a venerable natural process—the generation of honey—serves as an instructive parable. Flowers make nectar, which bees collect and process into honey. Cells make conditioned medium, which laboratory workers collect and process into exosomes. Unlike flowers, honey is durable, compact, and nutritious, but these facts do not negate the value of flowers themselves. The parallels suggest new ways of thinking about next-generation therapeutics.
Dr. Marbán is supported by grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and U.S. Department of Defense; and holds equity shares in and is an unpaid advisor to Capricor Therapeutics.
- Received September 25, 2017.
- Revision received October 23, 2017.
- Accepted November 6, 2017.
- 2018 American College of Cardiology Foundation