In situ capturing and counting device for the specific depletion and purification of cancer-derived exosomes

From metabolic waste to biological mediators, exosomes have emerged as the key player in a variety of pathological processes, particularly in oncogenesis. The exosome-mediated communication network involves nearly every step of cancer progression, promoting the proliferation and immune escape of cancer cells. Therefore, the removal of cancer-derived exosomes has profound clinical significance. Current methods for exosome separation and enrichment are either for large-scale samples or require complex pretreatment processes, lacking effective methods for trace-volume exosome capture in situ.

Fudan University researchers have developed an in situ exosome capturing and counting device based on the antibody-functionalized capillary. Specific antibodies targeting exosome biomarkers were immobilized to the inner wall of the capillary via biotin-streptavidin interaction for direct cancer exosome capturing. Subsequent exosome staining enabled imaging and enumeration. Acceptable linearity and reproducibility were achieved with this device, with the capturing and detective range between 3.3 × 104 and 3.3 × 108 particles, surpassing the nanoparticle tracking analysis by 2 orders of magnitude while requiring merely 30 μL sample. The researchers demonstrated that MCF-7-derived exosomes induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition of epithelial cells MCF-10A, and this method was able to completely or partially reverse the transition by complete depletion or specific depletion of cancer exosomes without any preprocessing. Moreover, both whole exosomes and cancer-specific exosomes alone from mimic blood samples were successfully captured and counted, without obvious non-specific adsorption. In all, this approach realized the in situ depletion and number-counting of cancer-derived exosomes directly from the complex humoral environment, having the potential to provide a comprehensive tumor therapeutic and prognosis evaluation tool by targeted hemodialysis and counting of tumor-derived exosomes.

Tai Q, Yu H, Gao M, Zhang X. (2023) In Situ Capturing and Counting Device for the Specific Depletion and Purification of Cancer-Derived Exosomes. Anal Chem [pub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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