Engineering Cholesterol-Based Fibers for Antibody Immobilization and Cell Capture
Retention of protein function
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn 2015, the United States is expected to have nearly 600,000 deaths attributed to cancer. Of these 600,000 deaths, 90% will be a direct result of cancer metastasis, the spread of cancer throughout the body. During cancer metastasis, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are shed from primary tumors and migrate through bodily fluids, establishing secondary cancer sites. As cancer metastasis is incredibly lethal, there is a growing emphasis on developing "liquid biopsies" that can screen peripheral blood, search for and identify CTCs. One popular method for capturing CTCs is the use of a detection platform with antibodies specifically suited to recognize and capture cancer cells. These antibodies are immobilized onto the platform and can then bind and capture cells of interest. However, current means to immobilize antibodies often leave them with drastically reduced function. The antibodies are left poorly suited for cell capture, resulting in low cell capture efficiencies. This body of work investigates the use of lipid-based fibers to immobilize proteins in a way that retains protein function, ultimately leading to increased cell capture efficiencies. The resulting increased efficiencies are thought to arise from the retained three-dimensional structure of the protein as well as having a complete coating of the material surface with antibodies that are capable of interacting with their antigens. It is possible to electrospin cholesterol-based fibers that are similar in design to the natural cell membrane, providing proteins a more natural setting during immobilization. Such fibers have been produced from cholesterol-based cholesteryl succinyl silane (CSS). These fibers have previously illustrated a keen aptitude for retaining protein function and increasing cell capture. Herein the work focuses on three key concepts. First, a model is developed to understand the immobilization mechanism used by electrospun CSS fibers. The antibody immobilization and cell capturing abilities of the CSS fibers were compared to that of hydrophobic polycaprolactone (PCL) fibers and hydrophilic plasma-treated PCL fibers. Electrospun CSS fibers were found to immobilize equivalent amounts of protein as hydrophobically immobilized proteins. However, these proteins captured 6 times more cells, indicative of retained protein function. The second key concept was the design and fabrication of a hybridized lipid fiber. Lipid fibers provide improved protein function but fabrication difficulties have limited their adoption. Thus, we sought to fabricate a lipid-polymer hybrid that is easily fabricated while maintaining protein function. The hybrid fiber consists of a PCL backbone with conjugated CSS. The hybrid lipid fibers showed improved protein function. In addition, higher lipid concentrations were directly correlated to higher cell capture efficiencies. The third key concept was on the development of dually functionalized lipid fibers and understanding the resulting cell capture efficiencies. Many platforms are unable to simultaneously search for heterogeneous populations of CTCs–the ability to dually functionalize cell-capturing platforms would address this technological weakness. Studies indicated that dually functionalizing the lipid fibers did not compromise the platforms' abilities to capture the cells of interest. Such dually functionalized fibers allow for a single cell-capture platform to successfully detect heterogeneous populations of CTCs. The body of work encompassed herein describes the use of lipid fibers for antibody immobilization and cell capture. Data from various projects indicate that the use of cholesterol-based fibers produced from electrospun CSS are well suited for protein immobilization. The CSS fibers are able to immobilize equivalent amounts of protein as compared to other immobilization techniques. However, the benefit of these fibers is illustrated by the strong cell-capturing efficiencies, indicating that the immobilized proteins are able to retain their function and selectively target cells of interest. The successful immobilization of proteins and their retained function allows for the development of increasingly sensitive cancer diagnostic tools that are able to screen for CTCs early on in the cancer disease cycle.
Degree ProgramGraduate College