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Stem cells are critical to maintaining steady-state organ homeostasis and regenerating injured tissues. Recent intriguing reports implicate extracellular vesicles (EVs) as carriers for the distribution of morphogens and growth and differentiation factors from tissue parenchymal cells to stem cells, and conversely, stem cell-derived EVs carrying certain proteins and nucleic acids can support healing of injured tissues. We describe approaches to make use of engineered EVs as technology platforms in therapeutics and diagnostics in the context of stem cells. For some regenerative therapies, natural and engineered EVs from stem cells may be superior to single-molecule drugs, biologics, whole cells, and synthetic liposome or nanoparticle formulations because of the ease of bioengineering with multiple factors while retaining superior biocompatibility and biostability and posing fewer risks for abnormal differentiation or neoplastic transformation. Finally, we provide an overview of current challenges and future directions of EVs as potential therapeutic alternatives to cells for clinical applications.

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