• ECE Paris
    37, Quai de Grenelle
    75015 PARIS, FRANCE

    Phone: +33 (0)1 82 53 98 90 -

    ECE Paris Master’s degree is accredited by the CTI Comission des Titres d’Ingénieurs (Engineering Education Commission), by the European Research Council (erc) and by the french ministry of higher education and research.

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ECE Paris-Harvard associate for a certificate


Valeria Nuzzo, director of the research department at ECE Paris, in collaboration with a research group at Harvard University (Nabiha Saklayen, Eric Mazur), filed a provisional patent on a new technique for laser-based intracellular delivery of molecules – “Cellular Poration Using Continuous Laser Radiation”, 11/2016.


Quick, efficient and safe delivery of millions of functional molecules to cells will revolutionize genetic therapies and lead to high-throughput screening diagnosis and discovery of new drugs. The current intracellular delivery techniques are based on biology methods (use of viruses as molecules vectors), chemical (by encapsulating molecules for example in lipids to cross the cell membrane), or physical ones (the most used being electroporation enabling pore opening in cell membrane by an electric field).


All these techniques have advantages and disadvantages and new avenues are continuously explored. In the last few years we have seen the development of physical methods involving the use of nanoparticles and nanostructured chips which, illuminated by pulsed lasers, allow the opening of cellular pores by a thermal effect or amplification of the electric field.


In an ECE Paris-Harvard joint project, we propose to use a continuous laser to irradiate a microfabricated metal surface on which cells, surrounded by a solution containing the molecules of interest, are deposited. We have observed that under the effect of continuous laser, molecules enter and diffuse into cells, whereas up to now continuous lasers have been used in photothermal therapy to induce necrosis of cancer cells. The replacement of a pulsed laser with a continuous laser for intracellular delivery reduces costs enormously and makes the technique much more accessible.


The image shows cells after irradiation by continuous laser: A) cells that emit a green fluorescence have incorporated calcein, an impermeable molecule, under the effect of the laser, validating the technique; B) the purple fluorescence emitted by the cells proves that they remain alive after treatment; C) images A) and B) are superimposed to show all green and living cells.



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