Screening and multiple detection of cancer exosomes using an SERS-based method†
As a kind of most important cancer biomarker, exosomes are getting more frequently investigated in cancer diagnosis. In this study, we proposed an SERS-based method for the screening and simultaneous multiple detection of exosomes using magnetic substrates and SERS probes. Specifically, the capturing substrates are achieved using gold shell magnetic nanobeads modified by aptamers, which can capture most kinds of exosomes by recognizing the generic surface protein CD63. Moreover, the SERS probes are made of gold nanoparticles decorated with a Raman reporter and a specific aptamer for targeting exosomes. Further, for the simultaneous detection of multiple kinds of exosomes, three kinds of SERS probes were designed using different SERS reporters. While detecting specific kinds of exosomes, the capturing substrates were mixed with these three kinds of SERS probes. When the target exosome is present, an apta-immunocomplex can be formed among the target exosomes, the substrate, and the corresponding kind of SERS probes, and the other non-specific SERS probes remain in the suspension. Hence, an SERS signal with a decreased intensity will be detected in the supernatant, indicating the presence of the target exosomes. Finally, this detection method has also been successfully employed for the detection of exosomes in real blood samples; this proves that the proposed SERS-based method is a promising tool for clinical cancer screening based on exosomes.