The Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa is seeking to license a new method for the simultaneous detection and separation of biological entities, such as specific cells, based on magnetic nanobeads of strictly controlled size.
The nanobeads can be used in a number of biomedical applications, including bioimaging, bio- and chemo-sensing, cell tracking and sorting, bioseparation, and drug delivery.
The nanobeads are made of aggregates of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) coated with an amphiphillic polymer, to which oligothiophene fluorescents (OTFs) are grafted. The size can be selected within the range of 30 to 400 nm. In addition, the nanobeads can be linked with a variety of molecules, for detecting specific targets, and they are readily dispersed in the interaction medium with cells or markers. This means the nanobeads can be used in a number of biomedical applications.
The fabrication process does not require separate steps of clustering iron oxide nanoparticles and of fluorescent coating of these clusters - with the associated difficulties of selection and separation. A precise size with narrow dispersion of the complete nanobeads is achieved in a single step by easy control of the fabrication parameters.
The nanobeads are highly photostable, have low toxicity, are fluorescence tunable, can be easily conjugated to a variety of molecules to detect specifc bio-targets, and respond quickly to a magnetic field.