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Circulating Microvesicles Biomarkers and Molecular Targets in Disease

Healthcare Portfolios
Life Sciences
Respiratory & Pulmonary
College of Medicine (COM)
Marsh, Clay
Hunter, Melissa
Ismail, Noura
Licensing Manager
Ezzell, Janel
(614) 292-5253

T2007-130 Discovery of microvesicles containing microRNA from myeloid cells that can serve as biomarkers and molecular targets

The Need

In the last decade, scientific research showed exponential growth in publications on exosomes, cell-derived microvesicles. Many researchers are convinced that these tiny vesicles have unlimited potential in diagnostics and therapeutics, especially in oncology treatments. Microvesicles facilitate communication between cells. Many cells including macrophages, platelets, and tumors release small microvesicles (cell membranes packets) containing nucleic acids and/or proteins. Several investigators reported that processed mRNA is contained within these vesicles. These mRNAs encode transcription factors which regulate angiogenesis, cell growth, and differentiation. Research showed that all fluids in the human body contain exosomes, which can transfer cytoplasmic ingredients to other cells either locally or at distant sites. Once reaching the recipient cells, cytoplasmic ingredients can alter its biology. Scientists believe that various biomolecules in exosomes can be profiled and, consequently, may serve as useful biomarkers for different diseases. Nucleic acids such as RNA or DNA can be isolated from exosomes and further analyzed by various techniques.

The Technology

Researchers at The Ohio State University, led by Dr. Clay Marsh, discovered that myeloid cells stimulated in vitro will survive and differentiate into macrophages, which then release microvesicles. That data indicates the content of these microvesicles induce monocyte survival and differentiation opposed to microvesicles isolated from non-stimulated cells. Furthermore, they identified microRNAs within the vesicles. They further characterized the subpopulations of microvesicles in the peripheral blood and found these microvesicles exist in normal human plasma. Additional tests identified miRNA circulating in the human plasma, as well, and determined that they are contained in microvesicles. The results indicate that the miRNA signature within these circulating microvesicles have diagnostic implications to human diseases such as cancer.

Commercial Applications

  • Exosomes diagnostics and therapeutics
  • Biomedical Engineering


  • Microvesicles in the peripheral blood can act as predictive markers
  • MicroRNA in microvesicles may serve as molecular targets
  • Analyzing circulating miRNA in microvesicles could circumvent the need for invasive procedures to obtain tissue samples