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Nano Lett. 2012 Aug 8;12(8):3881-6. doi: 10.1021/nl204051v. Epub 2011 Dec 20.

Nanostraws for direct fluidic intracellular access.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.


Nanomaterials are promising candidates to improve the delivery efficiency and control of active agents such as DNA or drugs directly into cells. Here we demonstrate cell-culture platforms of nanotemplated "nanostraws" that pierce the cell membrane, providing a permanent fluidic pipeline into the cell for direct cytosolic access. Conventional polymeric track-etch cell culture membranes are alumina coated and etched to produce fields of nanostraws with controllable diameter, thickness, and height. Small molecules and ions were successfully transported into the cytosol with 40 and 70% efficiency, respectively, while GFP plasmids were successfully delivered and expressed. These platforms open the way for active, reproducible delivery of a wide variety of species into cells without endocytosis.

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