Exosomes, as one type of extracellular vesicle derived from multiple cells, have much potential as cancer biomarkers in clinical applications, but their enrichment and detection remain a huge challenge. Inspired by the burr-like structure of the hedgehog, researchers at the Nanjing University Medical School have developed a new nanoparticle with a nanoneedle-assembled shell and a magnetic core for the effective capture and detection of exosomes. The unique nanoneedle structures endowed the magnetic nanoparticles with a large surface area for antibody modification so that the nanoparticles could serve as a platform for efficient exosome capture. In addition, the controllable movement of exosome-combined nanoparticles, which is due to the magnetic iron oxide cores, provides tremendous convenience for separating exosomes. The practical value of these nanoparticles in exosome analyses of serum from healthy patients and patients with liver cancer has also been demonstrated. Thus, the researchers believe that bioinspired hierarchical nanoparticles are promising for biomedical and clinical applications.
a Schematic illustration of the preparation and modification process of the Fe3O4@MgSiO3 nanoparticles. b Schematic illustration of isolating and detecting exosomes with Fe3O4@MgSiO3 nanoparticles.