An extremely sensitive and selective method using graphene films to mimic the cell microenvironment could enhance capture of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Reporting in the upcoming issue of Advanced Materials, scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences showed that reduced graphene oxide (rGO) films, which have been coated with antibodies, could efficiently capture CTCs from whole blood samples.
CTCs are tumor cells that have detached from their primary site and travel through the blood vessels to colonize distant tissues. Existing methods for isolating CTCs entail complex microfluidic processes, which limit further characterization of CTCs on the chip. In addition, the highly complex biological environment where cells reside represents a major challenge in designing biointerfaces for isolating CTCs. To mimic the natural microenvironments for cell-specific recognition, many factors such as surface topography, mechanical stress, matrix stiffness, and other physiochemical properties need to be considered.
The team from China found that antibody-modified rGO films with a rough surface and low stiffness could promote interaction between CTCs and biointerfaces, hence improving retention of CTCs. Furthermore, rGO with superhydrophilic (negative charge) surface repelled non-specific cell adhesion, thereby decreasing background adhesion of white blood cells in a whole blood sample. Importantly, the modified rGO films could efficiently isolate CTCs that are present in concentration as low as 10 CTCs per mL of blood sample, all without the use of a complex microfluidic approach. Specific isolation of these cells carries great clinical potential— these cells hold valuable keys for decoding the biological properties of the primary tumor and provide information on biomarkers for disease diagnosis.
Study in Advanced Materials: Antibody-Modified Reduced Graphene Oxide Films with Extreme Sensitivity to Circulating Tumor Cells…