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Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are small cargo-carrying vesicles that can be released by cells into the extracellular space. For many years it was thought that EVs were simply a route by which cells removed unwanted material, but it is now realised that they have a range of important functional roles and are part of the molecular dialogue that cells use to communicate. We are investigating how EVs are taken up by cells and how they are able to cause changes to the recipient cells.
Cells that have been stressed release factors that signal to neighbouring cells. These factors can be taken up by nearby cells triggering the appearance of DNA damage. We have shown that extracellular vesicles are responsible for this so called "bystander effect". We now wish to characterise the contents of these vesicles and understand the mechanisms by which they can induce DNA damage in neighbouring cells.
We are very grateful to our funders over the years, including:
The Cancer and Polio Research Fund
The Royal Society
Action Medical Research
The Dunhill Medical Trust
The British Society of Haematology
Oxford Brookes University