Photoresponsive immunomagnetic nanocarrier for capture and release of rare circulating tumor cells†
Isolation, release and culture of rare circulating tumor cells (CTCs) may, if implemented, promote the progress of individualized anti-tumor therapies. To realize the release of CTCs without disruption of their viability for further culture and analysis, we designed an effective photocontrolled CTC capture/release system by combination of photochemistry and immunomagnetic separation. 7-Aminocoumarin was synthesized as the phototrigger to bridge the connection between the anti-EpCAM antibody and the magnetic beads. The coumarin moieties produced cleavage of a C–O bond under both ultraviolet (UV) and near-infrared (NIR) light illumination, breaking the bridge and releasing CTCs from the immunomagnetic beads. Compared with conventional immunomagnetic separation systems, the negative influence of absorbed immunomagnetic beads on further CTCs culture and analysis was effectively eliminated. The system can specifically recognize 102 MCF-7 cells in 1 mL of human whole blood samples with 90% efficiency and 85% purity. Under the irradiation of UV and NIR light, 73 ± 4% and 52 ± 6% of captured cells were released with a viability of 90% and 97%, respectively. Furthermore, this technique has been used to detect CTCs from whole blood of cancer patients with high purity. This study demonstrates that the photochemical-based immunomagnetic separation method for isolating, releasing and culturing CTCs from clinic patients may provide new opportunities for cancer diagnosis and personalized therapy.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Global challenges: Health & Food