Using nanotechnology to engineer sensors onto the surface of cells, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed a platform technology for monitoring single-cell interactions in real-time. Sensing the niche – Cells carrying sensors monitor the cellular nano-environment in real-time. Credit: Courtesy of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
nanotechnology to anchor sensors to the memranes of individual cells,
researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have developed a platform
technology for monitoring single-cell interactions in real-time.
innovation addresses needs in both science and medicine by providing
the ability to further understand complex cell biology, track
transplanted cells, and develop effective therapeutics. These findings
are published in the July 17 issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
can now monitor how individual cells talk to one another in real-time
with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution,” says Jeffrey Karp,
senior study author, and co-director of the Center for Regenerative
Therapeutics (ReGen Rx) at BWH. “This allows us to understand signaling
between cells and interactions with drugs in great detail that should
have broad implications for basic science and drug discovery”.
cell-signaling sensors researchers currently use are limited to
measuring the activity in the bulk environment that a group of cells are
in. In this study, researchers used nanotechnology to anchor a sensor
to the membrane of individual cells, allowing them to monitor soluble
signals within the cellular nanoenvironment. Given that cells are
directly labeled with sensors permits application to transplanted cells
this is refined as a tool, and used to study drug interactions with
cells on a regular basis, there is potential that it may be used for
personalized medicine in the future,” said Weian Zhao, lead author of
the study, also of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics (ReGen Rx)
at BWH. Karp adds, “We may one day be able to test a drug’s influence on
cell-cell interactions before deciding on the appropriate therapeutic
for each person.”
Using nanotechnology to engineer sensors onto the surface of cells, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) have developed a platform technology for monitoring single-cell interactions in real-time. Weian Zhao (L) and Jeffrey Karp (R) sit beside a graphic demonstrating their novel platform technology for monitoring single-cell interactions in real time. Photo courtesy of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Credit: Courtesy of Brigham and Women’s Hospital
researchers are also especially excited by preliminary data that
demonstrates the potential to use this engineering approach to track and
monitor the environment surrounding transplanted cells, in real time,
which was never before possible. This would be useful for developing a
deeper understanding of signaling events that define a site of
inflammation for example or the stem cell niche, which may have
implications for treatment of many diseases.
new study takes a significant step toward the goal to eavesdrop in
real-time and at high spatial resolution on communications between cells
in their native environment, with far-reaching implications for the
development of new drugs and diagnostics” said Ulrich von Andrian, the
Mallinckrodt Professor of Immunopathology at Harvard Medical School who
was not involved in this study.