What are Oncosomes?

Nanotechnology use for divergent isolation of oncosomes and exosomes.

Oncosomes are, at present, scientifically understood to be membrane-derived micro-vesicles that are secreted by cancer cells and transfer oncogenic messages and protein complexes across cell borders. The names, from, oncogenic: relating to tumour formation or tending to cause tumours, oncosomes are being characterised as exosomes that contain oncogenic cargo and/or unique signatures of the tumour cells from which they emerge.

Newly identified in recent research, oncosomes are membranous micro-vesicles that are understood to be involved in rapid intercellular transfer of oncogenic information from brain and spinal cord tumour cells.  Although this process echos cell-to-cell behaviour-altering signalling, it involves inter-cellular transfer of a membrane-bound organised micro structures within a living cell, rather than a soluble protein such as hormones or cytokines.

Large oncosomes are uncommonly large extracellular vesicles associated with advanced disease (cancer derived).  The enzymes involved in metabolic processes relevant to cancer such as amino acid, glutamine and glucose are being found in the proteins enriched in large oncosomes.

Tumour cells produce EVs containing molecular responders of several cancer-related processes. In particular, oncosomes  additionally contain oncogenic proteins, DNA, transcripts, and non-coding RNA molecules (microRNA). Consumption of the material can alter properties of the recipient cells and impact the micro environment of the tumour. It is being assumed that metastases to the brain may also release with oncogenic signatures. As a consequence, extracellular vesicles emerge as a new and functionally important vehicle of intercellular communication that can facilitate numerous biological effects. In addition, they provide a unique station for development of molecular biological markers in cerebral malignancies.

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