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International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 20-22) Opens with Record 1,600 Attendees from Over 50 Countries

The International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 20-22) (, with 1,600 virtual attendees from over 50 countries around the world, and offering ~600 presentations of various types (Plenary Addresses, “Hot Topic” Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Education Sessions), both live-streamed and on-demand, opened on Monday, July 20, with welcoming remarks by Alissa Weaver, MD, PhD Professor & Chair, Cell & Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and Lucia Languino, PhD, Professor, Cancer Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, the two ISEV International Organizing Committee (IOC) Co-Chairs, and by Ken Witwer, PhD, Associate Professor, Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, Johns Hopkins, and ISEV Executive Chair for Science & Meetings. These warm words were followed by the meeting’s first live-streamed plenary address on the “The Mystery of EV Biogenesis—Past, Present, and Future,” presented by Phyllis Hanson, MD, PhD, Chair of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan. Dr. Hanson is a world-leading expert on the organization of cellular membranes. She studies how proteins interact with each other, and with membranes, to influence membrane trafficking and cellular organelles, and the way in which these interactions influence neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Hanson was introduced by her former colleague Dr. Weaver and Dr. Hanson’s address was followed by a 15-minute Q&A session moderated by Dr. Languino.


Specific T-Cell Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 Revealed in Recovered COVID-19 and SARS Patients, and in Uninfected Controls; Results Published in Nature

Singapore scientists have uncovered SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell immunity in recovered COVID-19 and SARS patients, and in uninfected individuals. The study by scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School, in close collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) was published online on July 15, 2020 as an accelerated preview article in Nature. The findings suggest infection and exposure to coronaviruses induces long-lasting memory T-cells, which could help in the management of the current pandemic and in vaccine development against COVID-19. The open-access Nature article is titled “SARS-CoV-2-Specific T Cell Immunity in Cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and Uninfected Controls.” The team tested subjects who had recovered from COVID-19 and found the presence of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells in all of them, which suggests that T-cells play an important role in this infection. Importantly, the team showed that patients who recovered from SARS 17 years ago after the 2003 outbreak, still possess virus-specific memory T-cells and displayed cross-immunity to SARS-CoV-2. "Our team also tested uninfected healthy individuals and found SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells in more than 50 percent of them. This could be due to cross-reactive immunity obtained from exposure to other coronaviruses, such as those causing the common cold, or presently unknown animal coronaviruses. It is important to understand if this could explain why some individuals are able to better control the infection," said Professor Antonio Bertoletti, MD, from Duke-NUS' Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) program, who is the corresponding author of this study.

International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, Including Exosomes, July 20-22: Plenary Speakers, Panel Sessions, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Educational Sessions; FOCUS: PLENARY SPEAKERS

The International Society for ExtracellularVesicles (ISEV) AnnualMeeting (ISEV2020), Including #Exosomes, Is Now VIRTUAL (July 20-22); and will feature over 600 Discussions (Plenary Addresses, Panel Sessions, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Educational Sessions). The program can viewed here ( and registration can be done here ( As eminent Yale professor Philip Askenase, MD, has said, “Exosomes are a sensational biological discovery and they seem to be involved in nearly all biological and clinical processes.” Please attend the virtual ISEV 2020 meeting to learn more about these fascinating and immensely important tiny particles. The 2020 virtual meeting will feature five plenary speakers who are acknowledged leaders in the field of extracellular vesicles (EVs). They are Alain Brisson, currently Emeritus Professor at the University of Bordeaux, in the team Extracellular Vesicles & Membrane Repair in CNRS unit CBMN; Hollis Cline, PhD, the Hahn Professor of Neuroscience and Co-Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Scripps Research in La Jolla, California; Phylis Hanson, MD, PhD, the Minor J. Coon Collegiate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Chair of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan; Eduardo Marban, MD, PhD, Founding Director, Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute; and Shannon Stott, PhD, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Associate Member, Broad Institute. Additional information on each of the ISEV 2020 plenary speakers is provided below.


Largest Study of Prostate Cancer Genomics in US Men of African Ancestry Highlights Importance of Including Under-Represented Groups in Genetic/Health Studies That Are Often Focused on Those of European Ancestry ; Results Will Inform RESPOND Study

Black men in the United States are known to suffer disproportionately from prostate cancer, but few studies have investigated whether genetic differences in prostate tumors could have anything to do with these health disparities. Now, in the largest study of its kind to date, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), UC San Francisco (UCSF), and Northwestern University have identified genes that are more frequently altered in prostate tumors from men of African ancestry compared to other racial groups, though the reasons for these differences are not yet known, the authors say. None of the individual tumor genetic differences that were identified are likely to explain significant differences in health outcomes or to prevent Black Americans from benefiting from a new generation of precision prostate cancer therapies, the authors say, as long as the therapies are applied equitably. The newly identified gene variants could potentially lead to precision prostate cancer therapies specifically focused on men of African ancestry, but this is not yet clear. The results will inform broader efforts by the National Cancer Institute's RESPOND African American Prostate Cancer study ( to link gene variants to health outcomes in an even larger cohort of Black patients nationwide. Despite declines in mortality related to cancer in the U.S., disparities by race have persisted. One in every six Black Americans will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and these men are twice as likely to die from the disease as men of other races. But it is not yet clear to researchers whether differences in prostate cancer genetics contribute to these health disparities in addition to the social and environmental inequities known to drive poorer health outcomes across the board.

Three COVID-19 Clinical Trials of Regeneron’s Antibody Cocktail REGN-COV2 Move Forward at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine & Public Health

The University of Wisconsin (UW) School of Medicine and Public Health and UW Health will conduct three clinical trials to test a new treatment and preventative for COVID-19, in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The school will use its companion health system UW Health as a trial site to evaluate an “antibody cocktail,” dubbed REGN-COV2, created by the Tarrytown, New York-based pharmaceutical company. To create REGN-COV2, Regeneron scientists selected virus-neutralizing antibodies produced from mice that have been genetically modified to simulate a human immune system, as well as antibodies identified from humans who have recovered from COVID-19, according to Regeneron. The experimental antibodies interact with the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s spike (S) protein and block viral interaction with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is the cell-surface protein the virus docks with during infection. The three trials include: an adaptive Phase 1, 2, and 3 randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy in hospitalized patients with COVID-19; an adaptive Phase 1, 2, and 3 randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19; and a Phase 3 randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the ability of REGN-COV2 to prevent an infection of the virus that causes COVID-19 in people who have been exposed to someone in their household with the disease. UW Health is one of approximately 100 trial sites for REGN-COV2 in the United States. Recruitment will begin immediately with a goal of enrolling 30 to 50 people per trial at the UW Health site.

All of Us Research Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison Joins Fight Against COVID-19

Those who have enrolled in the All of Us Research Program at the University of Wisconsin‒Madison and UW Health (, now have the potential to directly impact the national fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), which oversees the nationwide program, recently announced that it is leveraging its diverse All of Us participant base to seek new insights into COVID-19 through antibody testing, a survey on the pandemic’s mental and physical impacts, and analysis of electronic health record information provided by participants. UW‒Madison, which is part of a Wisconsin consortium that includes Gundersen Health System, Marshfield Clinic, and the Medical College of Wisconsin, has actively enrolled individuals in the Madison and Milwaukee areas since All of Us launched in May 2018. UW Health is a key partner for recruitment and enrollment efforts in Madison. “This is an exciting opportunity for our participants to have a direct impact on COVID-19 research, watching how their participation in this historic effort is truly making a difference,” said Elizabeth Burnside, MD, Co-Principal Investigator, All of Us at UW‒Madison, and a UW Health physician. “This focused initiative could be especially important for members of communities that are often under-represented in health research and who may question the overall and personal benefit of research participation.” To date, more than 271,000 people nationwide have participated in the All of Us Program and more than 50% of them represent racial and ethnic minorities.

ISEV 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting (July 20-22) Will Be Covered by BioQuick News

The International Society for Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) Annual Meeting (ISEV 2020), Including Exosomes, is now VIRTUAL (July 20-22); and will be featuring over 600 discussions (Plenary Addresses, Panel Sessions, Featured Abstracts, Oral Abstract Talks, Poster Chats, & Education Sessions), including both live and on-demand presentations. The meeting program can viewed here ( and registration can be done here ( As Philip Askenase, MD, eminent Yale Medical School Professor and 30-Year Chief of Allergy & Immunology at Yale, has said, "Exosomes are a sensational biological discovery and they seem to be involved in nearly all biological and clinical processes.” Please consider attending the virtual ISEV 2020 meeting to learn more about these fascinating and immensely important tiny particles. And if you can’t make the live sessions July 20-22, be aware that all meeting presentations and other materials will be available to all registrants until September 21. BioQuick News ( is covering the ISEV 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting and will be posting articles throughout the meeting, and also afterwards. BioQuick News is dedicated to the timely reporting of key life science & medicine advances from around the globe. Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, BioQuick News is a wholly independent publication and presently has readers in over 160 countries. BioQuick also has a Japanese-language edition. BioQuick has received numerous awards for publishing excellence and was recently ranked among the “Best Biology Blogs on the Planet.” BioQuick currently offers over 5,500 fully accessible articles on major life science/medicine advances (including >300 stories on exosomes/EVs).

UT Research Effort Reveals Co-Crystal Structure of Inhibitor Bound to Dengue Viral Capsid Protein; Structural Information Opens Avenues to Rational Design of Inhibitors for Antiviral Development

A multidisciplinary team from The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston has uncovered a new mechanism for designing antiviral drugs for the dengue virus. The results of the new study were published online on July 15, 2020 in PNAS. The article is titled “A Cocrystal Structure of Dengue Capsid Protein in Complex of Inhibitor.” Dengue virus is a very important mosquito-transmitted viral pathogen, causing 390 million human infections each year. Dengue is common in more than 100 countries and forty percent of the world's population is at risk of infection. When someone becomes ill with dengue, symptoms that can range from mild to severe may include fever, nausea/vomiting, rash, and muscle/bone/joint aches. Despite this, there are no clinically approved drugs currently available to people who become infected. In this study, the UTMB team has solved the co-crystal structure of the dengue capsid protein, which forms the interior of the virus, in complex with an inhibitor. The co-crystal structure has provided atomic details of how the inhibitor binds the capsid protein and blocks its normal function, leading to the inhibition of viral infection. The structural information has opened new avenues to rationally design inhibitors for antiviral development. "There are four types of dengue virus, all of which can cause epidemics and disease in humans. The current inhibitor does not inhibit all types of dengue virus. Our co-crystal structure explains why this is the case," said Pei-Yong Shi, PhD, the I.H. Kempner Professor of Human Genetics at UTMB. "Using this new information, we will be able to design new drugs that can inhibit all types of dengue virus. In addition, the structural information will also enable us to make compounds with improved potency and drug-like properties."

Evox Therapeutics Expands Existing Exosome Patent Portfolio with Further Grant Covering Exosomes for RNA Therapeutics

On July 15, 2020, Evox Therapeutics Ltd, a leading exosome therapeutics company, is pleased to announce that the company has been granted a key patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This newly issued patent adds to the expanding foundational patent estate held by Evox and further reinforces the company's position within the field of exosome-mediated RNA drug delivery. The recently issued US patent (U.S. Patent 10,704,047) provides broad coverage for pharmaceutical compositions comprising exosomes containing nucleic acid-based therapeutics, such as RNAi agents and antisense oligonucleotides, which have been loaded by electroporation. Per Lundin, PhD, Chief Operating Officer of Evox, commented: "We are very pleased to have been granted another foundational patent, reflecting our scientific and IP leadership in the exosome therapeutics space. This is another significant development that gives Evox dominant coverage in exosome-mediated RNA delivery, as well as key steps in the manufacturing process." Antonin de Fougerolles, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Evox, added: "Over the past decade, Evox has built an unrivaled global patent estate with broad and deep coverage of the key applications of exosome therapeutics. This recent grant represents a great addition of our IP position and further reinforces Evox's leading position as the partner of choice in the field of exosome therapeutics." Evox Therapeutics is a privately held, Oxford UK-based biotechnology company focused on harnessing and engineering the natural delivery capabilities of extracellular vesicles, known as exosomes, to develop an entirely new class of therapeutics.

New Study Illuminates Brain Circuitry Involved In Dysfunctional Social, Repetitive, and Inflexible Behaviors Characteristic of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD); Increased Understanding Gives Hope of Perhaps Eventually Treating Aberrant Behaviors in ASD

A team led by University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) researchers has identified brain circuitry that plays a key role in the dysfunctional social, repetitive, and inflexible behavioral differences that characterize autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The findings, published online on July 13, 2020 in Nature Neuroscience (, could lead to new therapies for these relatively prevalent disorders. The article is titled “Regulation of Autism-Relevant Behaviors by Cerebellar–Prefrontal Cortical Circuits.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States have ASD, a broad range of neurodevelopmental conditions thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although researchers have identified some key genes and pathways that contribute to ASD, the underlying biology of these disorders remains poorly understood, says Peter Tsai (, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, Neuroscience, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry at UTSW Medical Center and a member of the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute ( However, Dr. Tsai explains, one key brain region that’s been implicated in ASD dysfunction is the cerebellum, part of the hindbrain in vertebrates that holds about three-quarters of all the neurons in the body and has traditionally been linked with motor control. Recent studies by Dr. Tsai and his colleagues have demonstrated that inhibiting activity in a region of the cerebellum known as Rcrus1 can cause altered social and repetitive/inflexible behaviors reminiscent of ASD in mice.

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