Although the volume of nanowires used in the experiments was approximately 1/60 times that of magnetic beads, the cell separation capacity of nanowires for target cells was comparable to or better than that of magnetic beads. Considering the difference in volume of the material used, antibody-functionalized nanowires show an obvious advantage in cell separation.

Further study on the effect of nickel nanowires on target cells for a prolonged culturing period confirmed that cell morphology remained comparable to that of the control cells, but with a lower proliferation rate.

Additional benefits

The internalization of nickel nanowires by living cells provides opportunities for drug delivery, as it can be used to apply force and induce hyperthermia in cells.

Overall, the work demonstrates that antibody-functionalized nickel nanowires are a promising alternative to microbeads for efficient cell separation and provides valuable data for the application of antibody-functionalized nanowires in this role. The study also points towards further bioapplications of nanowire-bound cells after separation.

Full details are available in the journal Nanotechnology.