EV biology and therapeutics
Extracellular vesicles are heterogeneous intercellular communicators and a bioengineering platform for the delivery of biotherapeutics.
Most physiological as well as pathological processes involve intercellular communication. This communication occurs both between different cells of a given tissue as well as between different tissues. The Wood Lab is focusing on a specific type of intercellular communication which is based on extracellular vesicles (EVs). Contrary to other intercellular signal transducers (e.g. neurotransmitters, neurotropic factors, hormones and cytokines), EVs contain a large number of different signalling molecules in the same package. During their biogenesis, these nano-sized cell-derived vesicles become packed with biologically active proteins (both receptors and ligands), lipids, and genetic material (both coding and non-coding RNA).
In 2011 Matthew Wood and colleagues made the landmark discovery that exosomes could be developed into a therapeutic technology for the delivery of macromolecular biological drugs to target tissues including the brain. This has led to fundamental advances in exosome biology and in 2016 resulted in founding of a new spin-out biotechnology company Evox Therapeutics with colleagues Samir El Andaloussi and Per Lundin to develop exosome based technologies for therapeutic applications.
The Wood Lab is currently focussed on studies of EV biology and therapeutics including work on understanding the complex functional heterogeneity and subpopulations of EVs in health and disease, and development of bioengineered drug delivery vehicles for delivery of biological drugs such as therapeutic RNA and proteins in the context of a range of diseases including Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington's disease.