Gold and Light:
a detonating mixture for cell transfection

In the framework of the ERC Nanobubble, publication of an article resulting from an interdisciplinary collaboration between UGhent and U-Lille (Canther, IEMN, PhLAM) in the Journal of Nanobiotechnology.

Intracellular delivery of molecules is a key step in many diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Several “transfection” techniques exist (viral or non-viral vectors, physical methods) in order to circumvent the various obstacles to the controlled introduction of drugs, while optimizing key parameters such as efficacy, viability or treatment rate.

In the register of physical methods, photoporation with gold nanoparticles has shown to be a promising approach to permeabilize cell membranes through the generation of surface plasmon resonance (SPR)-induced vapor nanobubbles with a laser, allowing the entry of external molecules or cargoes inside the cells.

As part of the Nanobubble ERC (K. Braeckmans, UGhent) and an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Canther, IEMN and PhLAM laboratories at the University of Lille, a new optofluidic method keeps gold nanoparticles in close proximity to cells for photoporation, while avoiding direct contact with the cells by taking advantage of hydrodynamic focusing in a multi-stream microfluidic device.

Cells are photoporated with an efficiency of ∼ 70% without significant reduction in cell viability at a rate of 103 to 104 cells per minute. This optofluidic approach offers prospects for transferring photoporation to clinical use for the production of genetically engineered therapeutic cells.

This work has just been published recently (February 2023) in the Journal of Nanobiotechnology (5-year IF 11.5) :

M. Layachi, A. Treizebré, L. Hay, D. Gilbert, J. Pesez, Q. D’Acremont, K. Braeckmans, Q. Thommen and E. Courtade, Novel opto‑fluidic drug delivery system for efficient cellular transfection, J. Nanobiotechnology 21, 43 (2023)

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