Three questions to

Christelle Prinz (professor, Lund University) about her work with nanotube-delivery methods:

What´s the novelty with this method?
We work with nanotubes that can be used to inject “cargos” (can be nanoparticles, biomolecules) inside cells. These nanotubes ensure a fluidic connection between both sides of the substrate. The novelty is that the cargos are delivered directly in the cytosol and avoid entrapment in cellular compartments, as opposed to when cargos are delivered with lipid-based nanoparticles. Destruction of cargos in cell lysosomes is a huge issue in fundamental cell research and in the field of drug delivery, severely limiting the ability to modify cells.

We have used this method to tackle several issues, for example to greatly increase the number of injected fluorescent nanodiamonds to the cytosol for monitoring of cells. Nanodiamonds have a great potential to monitor cell properties such as local temperature or magnetic field. We have also injected gold shell-isolated nanoparticles into cancer cells for photothermal cancer therapy. By comparing standard delivery methods and nanotube-delivery, we were able to show that the endpoint and delivery method of the nanoparticles have a great effect on the photothermal effect for killing cancer cells.

Future implications?
These fundamental studies enable better understanding of the impact of nanoparticle distribution in cells for optimising different biomedical applications. For instance, it will allow to determine what organelles that should be targeted for optimising cancer photothermal therapy.

What´s next?
The method is now used in collaboration with Charlotte Ling at the Lund University Diabetes Center to perform epigenetic editing in cells. We are also exploring possibilities to perform single cell sequencing with the nanotubes (by pumping out material from single cells), in collaboration with Thoas Fioretos at the division of clinical genetics in Lund.

If you want to know more about this nano-tube delivery method, please contact Christelle Prinz: christelle.prinz@ftf.lth.s