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Use of a conformational switching aptamer for rapid and specific ex vivo identification of central nervous system lymphoma in a xenograft model.

  • Author(s): Georges, Joseph F;
  • Liu, Xiaowei;
  • Eschbacher, Jennifer;
  • Nichols, Joshua;
  • Mooney, Michael A;
  • Joy, Anna;
  • Spetzler, Robert F;
  • Feuerstein, Burt G;
  • Preul, Mark C;
  • Anderson, Trent;
  • Yan, Hao;
  • Nakaji, Peter
  • et al.

Improved tools for providing specific intraoperative diagnoses could improve patient care. In neurosurgery, intraoperatively differentiating non-operative lesions such as CNS B-cell lymphoma from operative lesions can be challenging, often necessitating immunohistochemical (IHC) procedures which require up to 24-48 hours. Here, we evaluate the feasibility of generating rapid ex vivo specific labeling using a novel lymphoma-specific fluorescent switchable aptamer. Our B-cell lymphoma-specific switchable aptamer produced only low-level fluorescence in its unbound conformation and generated an 8-fold increase in fluorescence once bound to its target on CD20-positive lymphoma cells. The aptamer demonstrated strong binding to B-cell lymphoma cells within 15 minutes of incubation as observed by flow cytometry. We applied the switchable aptamer to ex vivo xenograft tissue harboring B-cell lymphoma and astrocytoma, and within one hour specific visual identification of lymphoma was routinely possible. In this proof-of-concept study in human cell culture and orthotopic xenografts, we conclude that a fluorescent switchable aptamer can provide rapid and specific labeling of B-cell lymphoma, and that developing aptamer-based labeling approaches could simplify tissue staining and drastically reduce time to histopathological diagnoses compared with IHC-based methods. We propose that switchable aptamers could enhance expeditious, accurate intraoperative decision-making.

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