Regenerative medicine seeks to replace or repair human cells, tissues, or organs that have been damaged by disease or injury in order to restore normal function. This is in comparison to most of the current clinical strategies that focus primarily on treating the symptoms of disease states or injuries. Regenerative medicine largely focuses on cellular therapies, tissue engineering, biomaterials, and artificial tissue/organs, but exosomes represent a critical component of regenerative therapies. They are largely underreported on due to their size, and their biological significance has only recently been discovered— the exosome solution contains valuable lipids, nucleic acids, growth factors, cell surface receptors, enzymes, signaling cytokines, transcription factors, and proteins that have implications for cardiac and tendon regeneration, wound healing, and bone repair, as well as many other applications.
Current stem cell therapies involve reinfusing a person’s own isolated stem cells or donor stem cells. By contrast, autologous or donated human stem cells can be expanded ex-vivo in a laboratory and the exosomes extracted, reducing the safety and stability concerns associated with live cell injection. Cell-free products, including exosomes and other components of stem cells’ secretomes, may be entirely responsible for the therapeutic effects of current stem cell and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapies. Exosomes show great potential to expand the horizons of regenerative medicine; it may finally be possible to heal tissues and organs in the body by repairing or replacing the damaged tissue, or to stimulate the body's own repair mechanisms.