Journal: Nano Letters
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Fishing for stem cells with nanoneedles
© Andrew Brookes/Cultura/Getty
Cell separation could become much faster using thousands of tiny needles to hook many cells at the same time.
cell transplants can help repair damaged tissue, but picking specific
types of stem cells out from other
cells is difficult.
A team including researchers from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology arranged 10,000 hook shaped needles, 200 nanometres wide, that could be inserted into individual cells. The needles were tipped with an antibody to detect the target cell — in this case nerve stem cells. When the force of attraction between the needle and the cell was greater than that between the cell and the surface below, the needle plucked the cell away to be deposited elsewhere. Nearly all the stem cells survived the move and began to transform into nerve cells in the lab.
The technique could improve stem cell transplants for treating damaged nervous systems such as that caused by spinal cord injury.
- Nano Letters 17, 7117–7124 (2017). doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b03918