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

Joseph F. Georges, Xiaowei Liu, Jennifer Eschbacher, Joshua Nichols, Michael A. Mooney, Anna Joy, Robert F. Spetzler, Burt G. Feuerstein, Trent Anderson, Mark C. Preul, Hao Yan, Peter Nakaji

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Improved tools for providing specific intraoperative diagnoses could improve patient care. In neurosurgery, intraoperatively differentiating non-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 10 minutes of incubation. 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationClinical and Translational Neurophotonics 2018
EditorsVictor X. D. Yang, Steen J. Madsen
ISBN (Electronic)9781510614451
StatePublished - 2018
EventClinical and Translational Neurophotonics 2018 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Jan 27 2018Jan 28 2018

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherClinical and Translational Neurophotonics 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Aptamer
  • CNS lymphoma
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Frozen section
  • Glioma
  • In vivo imaging
  • Intraoperative diagnostics
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Stereotactic biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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