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Review

Recent Advances in the Label-Free Characterization of Exosomes for Cancer Liquid Biopsy: From Scattering and Spectroscopy to Nanoindentation and Nanodevices

1
Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS, 00168 Roma, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Neuroscienze, Sezione di Fisica, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, 00168 Roma, Italy
3
“Vinča” Institute of Nuclear Sciences—National Institute of the Republic of Serbia, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
4
Dipartimento di Scienze Biotecnologiche di Base, Cliniche Intensivologiche e Perioperatorie, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 00168 Rome, Italy
5
Rome International Centre Materials Science Superstripes RICMASS, via dei Sabelli 119A, 00185 Rome, Italy
6
Institute of Crystallography, CNR, via Salaria Km 29. 300, Monterotondo Stazione, 00016 Roma, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Tambet Teesalu
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(6), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061476
Received: 29 April 2021 / Revised: 24 May 2021 / Accepted: 27 May 2021 / Published: 2 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Nanomaterials in Diagnostics and Therapeutics)
Exosomes (EXOs) are nano-sized vesicles secreted by most cell types. They are abundant in bio-fluids and harbor specific molecular constituents from their parental cells. Due to these characteristics, EXOs have a great potential in cancer diagnostics for liquid biopsy and personalized medicine. Despite this unique potential, EXOs are not yet widely applied in clinical settings, with two main factors hindering their translational process in diagnostics. Firstly, conventional extraction methods are time-consuming, require large sample volumes and expensive equipment, and often do not provide high-purity samples. Secondly, characterization methods have some limitations, because they are often qualitative, need extensive labeling or complex sampling procedures that can induce artifacts. In this context, novel label-free approaches are rapidly emerging, and are holding potential to revolutionize EXO diagnostics. These methods include the use of nanodevices for EXO purification, and vibrational spectroscopies, scattering, and nanoindentation for characterization. In this progress report, we summarize recent key advances in label-free techniques for EXO purification and characterization. We point out that these methods contribute to reducing costs and processing times, provide complementary information compared to the conventional characterization techniques, and enhance flexibility, thus favoring the discovery of novel and unexplored EXO-based biomarkers. In this process, the impact of nanotechnology is systematically highlighted, showing how the effectiveness of these techniques can be enhanced using nanomaterials, such as plasmonic nanoparticles and nanostructured surfaces, which enable the exploitation of advanced physical phenomena occurring at the nanoscale level. View Full-Text
Keywords: exosome; extracellular vesicles; liquid biopsies; label-free; biofluids; microfluidics; nanodevice; SAXS; FTIR; AFM; personalized medicine exosome; extracellular vesicles; liquid biopsies; label-free; biofluids; microfluidics; nanodevice; SAXS; FTIR; AFM; personalized medicine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Di Santo, R.; Romanò, S.; Mazzini, A.; Jovanović, S.; Nocca, G.; Campi, G.; Papi, M.; De Spirito, M.; Di Giacinto, F.; Ciasca, G. Recent Advances in the Label-Free Characterization of Exosomes for Cancer Liquid Biopsy: From Scattering and Spectroscopy to Nanoindentation and Nanodevices. Nanomaterials 2021, 11, 1476. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061476

AMA Style

Di Santo R, Romanò S, Mazzini A, Jovanović S, Nocca G, Campi G, Papi M, De Spirito M, Di Giacinto F, Ciasca G. Recent Advances in the Label-Free Characterization of Exosomes for Cancer Liquid Biopsy: From Scattering and Spectroscopy to Nanoindentation and Nanodevices. Nanomaterials. 2021; 11(6):1476. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061476

Chicago/Turabian Style

Di Santo, Riccardo, Sabrina Romanò, Alberto Mazzini, Svetlana Jovanović, Giuseppina Nocca, Gaetano Campi, Massimiliano Papi, Marco De Spirito, Flavio Di Giacinto, and Gabriele Ciasca. 2021. "Recent Advances in the Label-Free Characterization of Exosomes for Cancer Liquid Biopsy: From Scattering and Spectroscopy to Nanoindentation and Nanodevices" Nanomaterials 11, no. 6: 1476. https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11061476

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