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Extracellular vesicles and RRNEV


Extracellular vesicles (EV) have recently attracted increasing interest because of their potential function in cell-to-cell communication, thrombus propagation and implications in several diseases. Furthermore, the possible use of microvesicles as a source for biomarkers as well as in therapeutic applications [1] has even increased the popularity of these vesicles. Remarkably, it has been foreseen that the next generation of biomarkers for disease diagnostics and prognostics may heavily to come to lean on EV. 

The overall goal of the EV network is to establish a platform for hitherto fragmented groups in the HSØ region interested in and working with EV, to strengthen the regional quality and production on EV research.

Most mammalian cells are able to release several types of sealed membrane particles of less than 1 µm into their extracellular matrix .The nucleic acid and protein content of these extracellular vesicles (EV) seems to reflect the nature and status of their cells of origin and thus, these vesicles may be considered to mirror their cellular phenotypes. Interestingly, the EV composition may differ in health and disease, making these vesicles tremendously attractive as a relatively non-invasive source of biomarkers since EV can be isolated from biological fluids.

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, August 2011,
Volume 68, Issue 16, pp 2667-2688

To gain insight in health and disease, the isolation and analysis of EV is expected to gain momentum in the years to come. Despite increased interest in EV research, there are several important challenges to overcome in this new field, such as how the different vesicle types should be defined, purified and analyzed. We therefore believe the time is appropriate for uniting the groups in HSØ interested in this rapidly expanding field of EV research. 

The Regional Research Network on EV focuses on a research field that has developed very fast as illustrated by the 25 participants attending the first international conference on this topic in 2005 and the 700 researchers that attended the first meeting of the newly launched International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) in Gothenburg in 2012. Highlighting the importance of the field is also the very recent NIH Common Fund's Extracellular RNA Communication program ($130 M ), which “will explore new ways in which cells communicate with each other using membrane enclosed extracellular ribonucleic acids (RNAs)” ( and the European Network on Microvesicles and Exosomes in Health and Disease(ME-HAD) (, approved Actions 2012), which focuses on basic understanding and translational potential of the EV. In accordance with these international initiatives, the Blood Cell Unit, Section for Research, Dept. of Medical Biochemistry, OUSUllevål aims at being the administrative coordinating group that will integrate research groups 2 working within the microvesicle field in the HSØ to establish a Regional Research Network on EV.

The network will be very useful among scientists working in the EV field. In this context, there are several important activities for the network such as to exchange knowledge, to evaluate instruments and materials, to develop and implement techniques and, last but not least, to generate collaborative projects. Furthermore, there is as of today no HSØ platform or network, in fact no Norwegian platform at all, to foster and integrate research activities in this new and important EV field.

The participants in the network are academic research groups and a research group from the
industry. The academic groups belong to hospitals within The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority: These groups work in different disease group entities such as cancer, sepsis, inflammation and brain disease. In additional international collaborators will support the activities of the network.

Our driving force will be that working together with various aspects of EV, in the frame of a network of coordinated knowledge exchange and collaboration, will ensure that the netted participants bring EV research in the HSØ region to the front in the years to come.
Establishment of The Regional Research Network on EV will provide several important advantages:

  • Firstly, to comply with the Research Strategy of HSØ 2008-2012 the network will approach the high potential of EV as diagnostic biomarkers in different diseases by cooperating with frontline clinical research groups (see Figure 2) to extend and transfer basic knowledge “from bench to bed”, ie.translational medicine (HSØ 2008-2012: “Aim: Increased cooperative research and translational medicine”)
  • Secondly, the network will focus on common challenges of EV characterization including pre-analytical handling and isolation procedures, unraveling size- and numbers, and describing vesiclecomposition. This may lead to various interdisciplinary, collaborative projects. 
  • Thirdly, the network will get insight into where this rapidly expanding knowledge field is moving, by strengthening the links to other European MV groups, such as ISEV, the COST ME-HAD and the ISAC Microvesicle Analysis Interest Development Group.

Project description for "The Regional Research Network on extracellular vesicles (EV)" is available here (download in PDF format)