Immunoavidity-Based Capture of Tumor Exosomes Using Poly(amidoamine) Dendrimer Surfaces

Michael J. Poellmann, Ashita Nair, Jiyoon Bu, Jack K.H. Kim, Randall J. Kimple, Seungpyo Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Tumor-derived blood-circulating exosomes have potential as a biomarker to greatly improve cancer treatment. However, effective isolation of exosomes remains a tremendous technical challenge. This study presents a novel nanostructured polymer surface for highly effective capture of exosomes through strong avidity. Various surface configurations, consisting of multivalent dendrimers, PEG, and tumor-targeting antibodies, were tested using exosomes isolated from tumor cell lines. We found that a dual layer dendrimer configuration exhibited the highest efficiency in capturing cultured exosomes spiked into human serum. Importantly, the optimized surface captured a > 4-fold greater amount of tumor exosomes from head and neck cancer patient plasma samples than that from healthy donors. Nanomechanical analysis using atomic force microscopy also revealed that the enhancement was attributed to multivalent binding (avidity) and augmented short-range adhesion mediated by dendrimers. Our results support that the dendrimer surface detects tumor exosomes at high sensitivity and specificity, demonstrating its potential as a new cancer liquid biopsy platform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5686-5692
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug 12

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Portions of this work were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant #DMR-1808251, the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NCI/NIH) through grant #1R01CA182528, and University of Wisconsin intramural funds. Instrumentation at the Materials Science Center was funded by University of Wisconsin—Madison College of Engineering Shared Research Facilities and NSF through DMR-1720415.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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