Wenjun Le, Bingdi Chen, Zheng Cui, Zhongmin Liu, Donglu Shi. Detection of cancer cells based on glycolytic-regulated surface electrical charges. Biophysics Reports, 2019, 5(1): 10-18. doi: 10.1007/s41048-018-0080-0
Citation: Wenjun Le, Bingdi Chen, Zheng Cui, Zhongmin Liu, Donglu Shi. Detection of cancer cells based on glycolytic-regulated surface electrical charges. Biophysics Reports, 2019, 5(1): 10-18. doi: 10.1007/s41048-018-0080-0

Detection of cancer cells based on glycolytic-regulated surface electrical charges

doi: 10.1007/s41048-018-0080-0
Funds:  This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31671029, 81772285), Shanghai Natural Science Foundation (16ZR1400700), National Postdoctoral Program for Innovation Talents (BX201700173), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017M621534).
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  • Corresponding author: Zhongmin Liu, Donglu Shi
  • Received Date: 29 May 2018
  • Rev Recd Date: 27 August 2018
  • Publish Date: 28 February 2019
  • Over the past decades, cell surface charge, although experimentally observed, has not been well understood particularly from the viewpoint of biophysics. Our recent studies have shown that all cancer cells exhibit negative surface charges that are directly proportional to the secreted lactic acid, a unique cancer metabolic characteristic: high rate of glycolysis. We have therefore designed and developed a set of electrically-charged, fluorescent, and super-paramagnetic nanoprobes, capable of sensitive detection of cancer cells based on the surface charges. These probes are utilized to bind onto cells via electrostatic reaction for capture and magnetic separation. In this fashion, we are able to characterize cell surface charges that are regulated by different metabolic patterns, therefore effectively distinguishing the cancer cells from the normal cells. All 22 cancer cells of different organs are found to be negativelycharged therefore bound strongly by the positively-charged nanoprobes, whereas the normal cells show insignificant binding to the nanoprobes of either charge signs (positive or negative). This finding suggests that all tested cancer cells are negatively-charged and normal cells are either charge-neutral or slightly positive. For diagnosis, cancer cells can be detected, electrostatically bound, and magnetically separated in blood by charged and super-paramagnetic nanoprobes. In therapeutics, circulating cancer cells (CTCs) can be filtered and removed in a continuous fashion to reduce the risk of cancer metastasis. If successful, this new nanotechnology will revolutionize early cancer diagnosis and potentially enable new therapeutics in clinical settings.
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