Technology to detect the presence of nanoparticles injected into a patient for clinical purposes is being licensed by the University of Texas at Austin to a local company nanoTox Inc., which plans to develop the knowledge into a real diagnostic product.
From the University of Texas press release:
The technology comes from the laboratory of Dr. James Tunnell, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the Cockrell School of Engineering. Tunnell’s lab focuses on developing minimally invasive optical technologies for the detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease, particularly for application to cancer screening and therapeutics…
In developing safe and effective products, one concern is knowing what becomes of nanoparticles applied or administered to the body. For example, nanoparticles designed to concentrate in certain locations such as tumor tissue for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes must not accumulate in other healthy tissues where they might cause harm such as the brain, heart, liver or kidneys.
Tunnell’s tool, which employs optical spectroscopy, provides a non-invasive way for companies who use nanoparticles in their products to tell whether those particles remain in tissue or have been flushed out.
“This uses an optical fiber that you just place in contact with the tissue and the light makes a measurement in a non-invasive way,” Tunnell said.
The current method for measuring nanoparticles at diagnostic or therapeutic concentrations in tissue typically involves the administration of radioisotopes or invasive procedures requiring a biopsy followed by time-consuming and costly examination using specialized forms of electron microscopy, X-ray analysis or nuclear chemical analysis in some cases.
Press release: University of Texas at Austin Licenses Technology For Nanoparticle Detection to Houston Company
Abstract to explore: In Vivo Detection of Gold Nanoshells in Tumors Using Diffuse Optical Spectroscopy
Image: Scanning electron microscope image of nanoparticles. Wellcome Images.