Nanomaterials for Targeting Circulating Tumor Cells highlighted in CMBE Journal

In the latest issue of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, Editor-in-Chief Michael King and coauthor Zhenjiang Zhang of Vanderbilt University assess the state-of-the-art in nanomaterials technology for capturing and targeting circulating tumor cells. 
This review was published through the Open Access option, and is available to all readers without a subscription.

Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering recently received their latest, 2016 ISI Impact Factor of 2.535, representing the highest impact factor for the journal and an increase of 60% from the previous year.

Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are cancer cells disseminated in the bloodstream, and are a hallmark of distant cancer metastasis. Their detection and characterization have significant implications in cancer biology and clinical practice. However, CTCs are very rare cells and show a range of properties and cell marker expression, requiring highly sensitive and specific techniques to identify and isolate them with efficiency.

Nanomaterials, with unique structural and functional properties, have shown strong promise towards meeting these challenging demands. In their review, Zhang and King discuss CTC capture and therapeutic targeting, while emphasizing the significance of the nanomaterials being explored for this purpose. They believe that the next generation of therapy for metastatic cancer may ultimately involve capturing and directly neutralizing CTCs using nanomaterials.
Numerous clinical studies using different CTC capture and detection assays have been conducted for a range of distinct tumor types at different disease stages. However, sensitivity and specificity remain the key issues to be addressed in future technologies which are expected to meet higher criteria. Zhang and King discuss the advantages and drawbacks of different nanomaterials for CTC capture and therapeutic targeting, and suggest modifications of current materials with multiple functionalities that could be ideally suited to reduce false negatives, bridge current isolation and detection methods, and enable multiplexed targeting.