Cancer bioimprinting and cell shape recognition for diagnosis and targeted treatment
Cancer incidence and mortality have both increased in the last decade and are predicted to continue to rise. Diagnosis and treatment of cancers are often hampered by the inability to specifically target neoplastic cells. Bioimprinting is a promising new approach to overcome shortfalls in cancer targeting. Highly specific recognition cavities can be made into polymer matrices to mimic lock-and-key actions seen in in vivo biological systems. Early studies concentrated on molecules and were inhibited by template size complexity. Surface imprinting allows the capture of increasingly complex motifs from polypeptides to single cell organisms and mammalian cells. Highly specific cell shape recognition can also be achieved by cell interaction with imprints that can be made into polymer matrices to mimic biological systems at a molecular level. Bioimprinting has also been used to achieve nanometre scale resolution imaging of cancer cells. Studies of bioimprint-based drug delivery on cancer cells have been recently trialled in vitro and show that this approach can potentially improve existing chemotherapeutic approaches. This review focuses on the possible applications of bioimprinting with particular regards to cancer understanding, diagnosis and therapy. Cell imprints, incorporated into biosensors can allow the limits of detection to be improved or negate the need for extensive patient sample processing. Similar cell imprinting platforms can be used for nanoscale imaging of cancer morphology, as well as to investigate topographical signalling of cancer cells in vitro. Lastly, bioimprints also have applications as selective drug delivery vehicles to tumours with the potential to decrease chemotherapy-related side effects.