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Biomaterials. 2013 Jan;34(2):460-9. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.09.040. Epub 2012 Oct 17.

Endonuclease-responsive aptamer-functionalized hydrogel coating for sequential catch and release of cancer cells.

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  • 1Program of Biomedical Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-3222, USA.


Rare circulating tumor cells are a promising biomarker for the detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of cancer. However, it remains a challenge to develop biomedical devices for specific catch and nondestructive release of circulating tumor cells. The purpose of this study was to explore a unique system for cell catch and release by using aptamer-functionalized hydrogels and restriction endonucleases. The results show that the hydrogel coating was highly resistant to nonspecific cell binding with ~5-15 cells/mm(2) on the hydrogel surface. In contrast, under the same condition, the aptamer-functionalized hydrogel coating could catch target cancer cells with a density over 1000 cells/mm(2). When the hydrogel coating was further treated with the restriction endonucleases, the bound cells were released from the hydrogel coating because of the endonuclease-mediated sequence-specific hydrolysis of the aptamer sequences. The release efficiency reached ~99%. Importantly, ~98% of the released cells maintained viability. Taken together, this study demonstrates that it is promising to apply endonuclease-responsive aptamer-functionalized hydrogels as a coating material to develop medical devices for specific catch and nondestructive release of rare circulating tumor cells.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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