Technology Listings

New Fluorescent Nanoparticle-dye Conjugates for Tumor Imaging or Drug Delivery


Nanoparticle-fluorescent dye combination that allows for locating and precision mapping of a tumors under near infrared (NIR) light and delivering chemotherapeutic agents.

Key Benefits
  • Nanoparticle-dye combination fluoresces under NIR light when in contact with a tumor; enables better mapping and allows more rapid analysis of treatments.
  • Can carry either hydrophilic or hydrophobic therapeutics to tumor locations.
  • Nanoparticle is based on iron oxide core, which is in clinical use and nontoxic in humans.
  • NIR dye.
Technical Summary

Current nanoparticle dye conjugates do not target cancer cells effectively. At best, one-third of the dye attaches to non-cancer cells, mostly in the liver and kidneys; this results in unclear imaging. This technology is a new nanoparticle formation paired with a new dye, both developed at Emory University. During in vivo mouse studies this new conjugate showed a four-fold increase in selectivity over the current technology; less than one-tenth of the dye attached to non-cancer cells. Little of the new dye winds up in the kidneys, the liver, or any other non-cancerous site. The nanoparticle is also capable of targeting triple negative breast cancer cells (TNBCs), a more aggressive and less responsive form of cancer.

The nanoparticle contains an iron oxide core, a stable, biocompatible structure shown to be non-toxic in humans. Therapeutic agents, both hydrophilic and hydrophobic, can be attached to the nanoparticle for targeted delivery to cancer cells. Due to its superior selectivity and fluorescence in the visual spectrum, this conjugate can also be used to locate small metastatic tumors and for visual location of tumors during surgery.

Developmental State

Successful in vivo testing in mice.

Patent Information
Tech ID: 11104
Published: 9/20/2011

Cliff Michaels
Assistant Director
Emory University

Lily Yang
Malgorzata Lipowska
Hui Mao

Drug Delivery
Imaging Agents