By Cameron Chai
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have formulated a technology to control interactions between individual cells in real-time. They made use of nanotechnology to plant sensors on the cell’s surface. This innovative technology offers users the ability to comprehend complicated cell biology, to design efficient therapeutics, and to monitor transplanted cells. These results are recorded in Nature Nanotechnology.
Cells carrying sensors monitor the cellular nano-environment in real-time
The Co-Director of the Center for Regenerative Therapeutics (ReGen Rx) at BWH, Jeffrey Karp, stated that they can track the communication of cells in real-time with unmatched temporal and spatial resolution. He adds that they can now gain deep insights into drug-cell interactions and communication between cells that can be suitable for finding new drugs.
The cell-signaling sensors that are used presently can only track the activity in bulk surroundings that comprises a collection of cells. Researchers in this study made use of nanotechnology to plant a sensor to the cell membrane, to track signals within the nano-environment. When sensors are directly labeled on cells, they can be useful for cell or tissue transplants.
The lead author of the study, Weian Zhao, stated that this technique has potential in the field of personalized medicine if it can be used to conduct periodic studies on interactions of drugs with cells. Karp adds that this technique will enable them to investigate a drug's impact on interactions between cells to determine a suitable treatment for each individual.
The preliminary information obtained by the researchers proves that this real time technique can be used to track the environment close to transplanted cells, which would be useful to comprehend signaling events associated with an inflammation site. These signaling activities could be useful for treating several diseases.