2016 APGI YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD won by dr. Stephan Stremersch


In his thesis, Stephan explored Extracellular Vesicles (EVs) as a new pharmaceutical tool, more specifically as a carrier for the delivery of RNAi-based therapeutics. In this respect, different isolation and cargo loading approaches were developed and evaluated. Additionally, the EV's ability to overcome the different cellular barriers is compared with current synthetic siRNA carriers (Fig.1).


Figure 1. Schematic representation of the intracellular fate of RNAi-based therapeutics after delivery by exosome-like vesicles and CHEMS:DOPE liposomes.






Besides their potential as a drug delivery vehicle, EVs also form an interesting biomarker source as they can be regarded as easy accessible, i.e. via liquid biopsy, windows on else difficult to reach cells. However, sensitive tools to identify specific EVs in a clinic sample are lacking. In this context a new platform to characterize individual EVs by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy was developed, which is able to discriminate between EVs from different cellular origin and has the potential to be further developed in a diagnostic context (Fig.2).



Figure 2. Schematic representation of the gold nanoparticle (AuNP) coating and subsequent surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy measurements of EVs.