Welcome to the Le lab at National University of Singapore

Our research interests in Extracellular Vesicles (EVs)

Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are natural carriers of RNAs in intercellular communication hence, they are also ideal vehicles for therapeutic RNAs. Recently, we have developed a strategy to harness EVs from red blood cells (RBCs) for the delivery of RNA drugs to cancer cells. RBCs are readily available from blood banks and they release a large amount of EVs hence, it is easy to purify RBCEVs in large quantities without any expensive and labor-intensive cell culture. RBCEVs mediate robust delivery of therapeutic RNAs including antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) and siRNAs to both leukemia cells and solid cancer cells for efficient oncogene inhibition. Moreover, this delivery platform is safe as RBCEVs are devoid of DNA, growth factors, and toxic substances. We have also engineered RBCEVs with peptide and antibody conjugation for targeted delivery. Our study was recently published in Nature Communications (Usman et al, 2018) and the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles (Pham et al, 2021). The RBCEV technology has been licensed to Carmine Therapeutics. We are currently developing multiple applications of RBCEV-mediated gene therapy for cancer, COVID-19, and other diseases. We are also investigating the mechanisms that mediate the uptake and intracellular trafficking of RBCEVs. This study will help us to develop RBCEVs into a versatile drug delivery platform with high efficiency, low toxicity, and high specificity.


Advantages of the RBCEV-based drug delivery platform (Le et al, Nature Research Bioengineering Community 2018)