Separating circulating tumor cells (CTC) out of blood is a difficult process because of their very low relative count. Researchers from Cornell University were able to use naturally occurring halloysite nanotubes, found in halloysite clay and separated and purified by a startup called NaturalNano (Rochester, NY), to improve the capture of CTC’s from blood.
From the study abstract:
In this study, we explore a method to more efficiently capture leukemic and epithelial cancer cells from flow by altering the nanoscale topography of the inner surface of P-selectin-coated microtubes. This functionalized topography is achieved by attaching naturally occurring halloysite nanotubes to the microtube surface via a monolayer of poly-l-lysine), followed by functionalization with recombinant human selectin protein. We have found that halloysite nanotube coatings promote increased capture of leukemic cells and have determined the key parameters for controlling cell capture under flow: halloysite content and selectin density. Ultimately, selectin-functionalized nanotube coatings should provide a means for enhanced cancer cell isolation from whole blood and other mixtures of cells.
Press release: Cancer Treatment Personalized With Nano-Materials …
Abstract in Langmuir: Use of Naturally Occurring Halloysite Nanotubes for Enhanced Capture of Flowing Cells
Technology page at NaturalNano: Halloysite Nanotubes…
Image: A bundle of NaturalNano halloysite nanotubes compared to the width of a human hair (NaturalNano).