Targeting Nanoparticles for Ultra-Sensitive Cell-Labeling

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Weihong Tan
Lin Wang
Chaoyong (James) Yang
Managed By
April Kilburn
Assistant Director 352-392-8929
Patent Protection
US Patent 8,168,447

Nanoparticles Conjugated to Target Biologically Active Molecules for Labeling, Detecting, and Separating

These nanoparticles target specific cells and label them in order to detect physical changes in the cells. Traditional methods of detecting cells targeted and labeled by nanoparticles occur through magnetic imaging techniques. Magnetized nanoparticles are synthesized in order to target and bind to specific cells. The magnetized cells are then detected using magnetic imaging in order to identify the targeted cells. University of Florida researchers have developed nanoparticles with signaling probes and separation tools for ultra-sensitive cell-labeling. The nanoparticles have silica surfaces with functional groups encased within the silica, as well as metal or dye cores enveloped in silica. The functional groups bind to targeted cells and label them, typically with luminophores. The nanoparticles are particularly useful in the early detection of pathogenic bacteria, since they can quickly bind to and label targeted cells.


Nanoparticles that target and label cells, detecting physical changes in the cells


  • Nanoparticles target specific cells, binding via functional groups
  • Encases functional groups and a metal or dye core in silica, allowing the nanoparticle to bind and label targeted cells
  • Labels targeted cells with luminophores, allowing quick detection of pathogenic bacteria


Traditional methods of cell-labeling are performed by binding magnetized nanoparticles to targeted cells. These improved nanoparticles bind to targeted cells through functional groups encased within silica on the surface of the nanoparticles. The nanoparticles also have metal or dye cores enveloped in silica. Targeted cells are typically labeled with luminophores. The nanoparticles can be used in the early detection of pathogenic bacteria, where traditional methods of detection can take a few days or weeks. By employing the improved nanoparticles, on-site analysis can be performed to quickly detect the presence of target pathogenic bacteria.