Furthermore, we are developing diagnostic tools for the detection of biomarkers which are involved in cancer metastasis, by exploiting the optical properties of inorganic nanoparticles. Therefore, we synthesize metallic nanoparticles, principally gold nanoparticles, following by their functionalization with different ligands. The modification of physico-chemical properties of these nanoparticles and consequently their of their optical properties modification, offer the new tools in the detection of circulating tumor material.
The nano-oncology laboratory as part of the Joint Unit, has formulated nanoemulsions from lipids and fatty acids with the capability to interfere in the cellular metabolism. These nanoemulsions had proved their ability to increase the cellular proliferation of a Circulation tumour Cell (CTCs) line model (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtchem.2020.100265), resulting in a very promising system to promote the culture of low proliferative cell lines. Likewise, these nanoemulsions are easily adaptable in terms of their components and structural modification, being a versatile system with multiple applications (https://doi.org/10.1002/adhm.202101019).
Moreover, by using the nanoemulsions, we have designed a protocol to generate of short-term cell cultures (23 days) of CTCs isolated from patients (https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13112668). This protocol has allowed the cultivation and characterization CTCs isolated from metastatic breast cancer patients. The characterization of these cells has made possible to demonstrate the change of these cells from a more epithelial phenotypic to a more mesenchymal one, due to the culture characteristics. On the other hand, these CTCs short-term cultures have proved to be a useful tool to predict progression-free survival in patients.
Related to the detection and isolation of CTCs, we have modified nanoemulsion with different ligands and proved their target capacity towards CTCs membrane proteins.
Additionally, focusing on the optical properties nanoparticles we have developed systems for the detection of cancer biomarkers (circulating tumour material). These systems allow the detection of biomarkers in plasma of patients in a simple way, fast and inexpensive way.
Dr. Ana Belén Dávila Ibañez, is the responsible of the Nano-oncology laboratory of the Roche-Chus Joint Unit