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Understanding the role of graphene oxide in the capture and eradication of circulating tumor cells

  • Autori: Nicolò Mauro; Cinzia Scialabba; Paola Varvarà; Anna Li Volsi; Giovanna Pitarresi; Gaetano Giammona
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2016
  • Tipologia: Abstract in atti di convegno pubblicato in volume
  • OA Link:


The capture of circulating cancer cells on functional biomaterials is expected to control metastatic spread of a tumor, which is related to good probability containing the progression of disease burden. (1) The physicochemical characteristics of a biomaterial surface highly affect cell recruitment and adhesion, which is of great importance in such applications. Here, we designed a poly(caprolactone)-based nanocompsite scaffold, henceforth PCLMF-GO, to simultaneously recruit and kill circulating cancer cells by tuning physicochemical features of the scaffold surface through nitrogen plasma activation and hetero-phase graphene oxide (GO) covalent functionalization. Nitrogen plasma activation was used for scaffold engineering to provide functionalization of the scaffold surface with reactive amines, even if keeping bulk properties of the virgin polymeric material, and to enhance cell adhesion properties of hydrophobic polymers.(2) In this work, we demonstrate plasma-induced microfiber surface functionalization coupling DSC, FT-IR, SEM, AFM, XPS and MS-NMR analyses, corroborating the starting hypothesis that GO was covalently bonded at the scaffold surface. Surface immobilization of GO implies clever cell adhesion and proliferation, promoting the selective in vitro recruitment of breast cancer cells (MCF-7) instead of fibroblasts (HDFa). We also display that GO deposition, thanks to the high near-infrared (NIR) absorbance, enable the discrete photothermal eradication of the captured cancer cells in situ (≈ 98%). Moreover, this technology can be used in frontier medical practices to capture circulating cancer cells in patients and, after proper ex vivo propagation, to develop biomarkers and tailor-made anticancer therapies. 1. Griffith, OL et al. (2011) Breast Cancer Res. 13: 230 2. Lopez, L. C. et al. (2007) Plasma Process. Polym. 4:S402–S405