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ACS Applied Bio Materials

  • Biochemistry & Nanosensors

Duplex Phenotype Detection and Targeting of Breast Cancer Cells Using Nanotube Nanoprobes and Raman Imaging

Authors Suraj Mal, Layane Duarte e Souza, Charlotte Allard, Carolane David, Sébastien Blais-Ouellette, Louis Gaboury, Nathalie Y.-W. Tang, and Richard Martel


We designed, synthesized, and characterized a Raman nanoprobe made of dye-sensitized single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) that can selectively target biomarkers of breast cancer cells. The nanoprobe is composed of Raman-active dyes encapsulated inside a SWCNT, whose surface is covalently grafted with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) at a density of ∼0.7% per carbon. Using α-sexithiophene- and β-carotene-derived nanoprobes covalently bound to an antibody, either anti-E-cadherin (E-cad) or anti-keratin-19 (KRT19), we prepared two distinct nanoprobes that specifically recognize biomarkers on breast cancer cells. Immunogold experiments and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images are first used to guide the synthesis protocol for higher PEG–antibody attachment and biomolecule loading capacity. The duplex of nanoprobes was then applied to target E-cad and KRT19 biomarkers in T47D and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cell lines. Hyperspectral imaging of specific Raman bands allows for simultaneous detection of this nanoprobe duplex on target cells without the need for additional filters or subsequent incubation steps. Our results confirm the high reproducibility of the nanoprobe design for duplex detection and highlight the potential of Raman imaging for advanced biomedical applications in oncology.

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