The 6th Annual International Society of Extracellular Vesicles (ISEV) 2017 conference earlier this spring in Toronto, CA, offered exosome and extracellular vesicle (EV) researchers new information and exciting ideas to explore. Standouts for this year’s meeting included an introduction to EV-TRACK, a new interactive database for standardizing EV protocols and an introductory plenary talk by Dr. Phillip Stahl, Edw. Mallinckrodt Jr. Professor Emeritus, Washington University, St. Louis, entitled “The Rise of an Extracellular Vesicle Paradigm of Cellular Communication: A Road to the Future”. These presentations, in addition to the cutting-edge individual contributed paper and poster contributions given by the EV research community, continue to make this meeting the must-go-to conference for EV investigators.
The stand-out workshop was a hands-on seminar that provided investigators with training in EV-TRACK, a knowledgebase that records experimental parameters of EV-related research. As a virtual research-sharing boutique, this platform allows free exchange of ideas and unpublished methods, as well as provides feedback from the EV research community (1).
The current goals of EV-TRACK are to:
• Create an informed dialog among researchers about relevant experimental parameters
• Improve the rigor and interpretation of experiments studying EV’s
• Record the evolution of EV research
• Facilitate standardization of EV research through increased systematic reporting on EV biology and methodology
One of the early findings from this database was a lack of consensus in existing EV isolation protocols: out of 1,742 experiments entered into EV-TRACK, there are 190 unique isolation methods and 10,038 unique protocols for EV retrieval from biofluids. In an age of science where the availability of commercial kits has made cell and molecular biology turn-key, in 17% of reported methods, data was lacking for characterization of isolated EVs. The convenience of pre-made reagents can make it easy to assume that controls, such as visual (electron microscopy) and other types of inspection and characterization of pellets, supernatants and eluates, are passé. EV-TRACK thus serves a purpose to drive consensus of isolation methods and other types of analyses through standardization of reporting guidelines, all accomplished by the EV-TRACK platform.
The EV-TRACK platform has seven features to aid input standardization. These features include:
• Upload – uploading of an experimental procedure with a unique identifier and the EV-TRACK ID
• EV-Metric – a metric assigned to the experimental procedure that assesses whether enough information has been provided to interpret and reproduce the experiment
• Query – a search engine where researchers can search the database for information of interest
• Coaching – a function that facilitates the search and comparison of EV-related publications
• Methods – a program that allows annotated methods to help monitor guideline compliance
• EV Biology – a function that catalogs biochemical and physical characteristics of EVs
• Community – a program that allows registered EV-TRACK users to become involved in future decision making via recommendations
In addition, at the 2017 conference, QIAGEN’s own R&D researchers presented a poster entitled “Rapid Isolation and miRNA Profiling of Intact Exosomes from Colorectal-Cancer Samples” that discussed a complete exosome and EV workflow, including rapid isolation of vesicular RNA (including miRNA and other small RNAs), to efficient profiling and analysis of miRNA content by next-generation sequencing. We were excited to talk with researchers who visited the poster and appreciated the comments and feedback we received. You can download your copy of our ISEV 2017 research poster here.
Next year the ISEV 2018 Conference is scheduled to take place May 2–6, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. For more information about this meeting, go to ISEV 2018 Annual Meeting. We look forward to seeing you there!
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- 1. Deun, J.V. et al. (2017) EV-TRACK: transparent reporting and centralizing knowledge in extracellular vesicle research. Nature Methods 14, 228–232.