Mumbai: A group of scientists from India and Germany claimed to have created “micro rockets” out of carbon nanotubes to selectively capture tumour cells from a large population of blood cells.
“It is difficult for clinicians to trap the few nasty cancer cells swimming stealthily alongside billions of healthy blood cells and diagnose cancer affirmatively. We have overcome this challenge,” Pune-based researcher Jayant Khandare said.
The researchers used a chemical ‘fuel' to propel these rockets up or down in an artificial cell suspension. “We were able to trap and transport tumour cells to diagnose specific cancers.
The micro rockets can also be used to detect or trace chemicals, deliver drugs and penetrate tissues during non-invasive surgeries,” Khandare said. Scientists earlier used microfluidic devices to capture and isolate tumours but the devices did not serve the purpose efficiently.
It is difficult to detect tumour cells in cancer patients as for every millilitre of blood, only 10-100 tumour cells appear in a sea of about a billion normal blood cells, he said.
The researchers from Actorius Innovations and Research, Maharashtra Institute of Pharmacy and peers from Institut für Chemie, Freie Universität Berlin, worked to synthesise the new efficient micro rockets, Khandare said. The micro rockets could become a potential tool for non-invasive liquid biopsy at an early stage of metastasis, Khandare said.