To demonstrate the device's usefulness in analyzing engineered nanoparticles, the MIT team weighed nanoparticles made of DNA bound to tiny gold spheres, which allowed them to determine how many gold spheres were bound to each DNA-origami scaffold. That information can be used to assess yield, which is important for developing precise nanostructures, such as scaffolds for nanodevices.
The researchers also tested the SNR system on biological nanoparticles called exosomes vesicles that carry proteins, RNA, or other molecules secreted by cells which are believed to play a role in signaling between distant locations in the body.
They found that exosomes secreted by liver cells and fibroblasts (cells that make up connective tissue) had different profiles of mass distribution, suggesting that it may be possible to distinguish vesicles that originate from different cells and may have different biological functions.
The researchers are now investigating using the SNR device to detect exosomes in the blood of patients with glioblastoma (GBM), a type of brain cancer. This type of tumor secretes large quantities of exosomes, and tracking changes in their concentration could help doctors monitor patients as they are treated.
Glioblastoma exosomes can now be detected by mixing blood samples with magnetic nanoparticles coated with antibodies that bind to markers found on vesicle surfaces, but the SNR could provide a simpler test.
"We're particularly excited about using the high precision of the SNR to quantify microvesicles in the blood of GBM patients. Although affinity-based approaches do exist for isolating subsets
|Contact: Sarah McDonnell|
Massachusetts Institute of Technology