The medicine of the future will incorporate elements from molecular biology and nanotechnology to develop point of care and home-based monitoring of health states. IBM Research partnered with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai to develop exosome-based liquid biopsies using IBM's nanoDLD technology.
This video explains these ideas in the words of the researchers who are helping to make this technology become a reality.
Ref: Nanoscale lateral displacement arrays for the separation of exosomes and colloids down to 20 nm. Nature Nanotechnology (1 August 2016) | DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2016.134
Deterministic lateral displacement (DLD) pillar arrays are an efficient technology to sort, separate and enrich micrometre-scale particles, which include parasites, bacteria, blood cells and circulating tumour cells in blood. However, this technology has not been translated to the true nanoscale, where it could function on biocolloids, such as exosomes. Exosomes, a key target of 'liquid biopsies', are secreted by cells and contain nucleic acid and protein information about their originating tissue5. One challenge in the study of exosome biology is to sort exosomes by size and surface markers. We use manufacturable silicon processes to produce nanoscale DLD (nano-DLD) arrays of uniform gap sizes ranging from 25 to 235 nm. We show that at low Péclet (Pe) numbers, at which diffusion and deterministic displacement compete, nano-DLD arrays separate particles between 20 to 110 nm based on size with sharp resolution. Further, we demonstrate the size-based displacement of exosomes, and so open up the potential for on-chip sorting and quantification of these important biocolloids.