Innovation and Partnerships Office

Nanoparticle Labeling Reagents IB-3033


  • Pathology
  • Forensics
  • Histiology


  • Modular platform enables simultaneous identification of multiple targets
  • Detection and quantitation of trace amounts of target
  • Higher throughput with less time / cost
  • Supports high speed optical scanning
  • Facilitates long term storage of labeled material
  • Enables use of sonication to reduce background


Researchers have developed a nanoparticle labeling reagent, including a nanoparticle core structure with one or more luminescent components and one or more labeling agents, that may be physically or chemically attached to form a conjugate. This composition enables specific and efficient labeling of cells and other biological materials using a single labeling reagent. Additional reagents, such as secondary antibodies, antibody-enzymes conjugates, enzyme substrates, and the like can be additionally used, but are not required for labeling and detection of the biological target.

The technology’s modular nature supports multiplexing of different luminescent compounds, different labeling molecules, or both, making possible complex arrays of related labeling reagents for identifying multiple targets simultaneously. The nanoparticle labeling reagents amplify target signals as a result of polyvalent binding and multiplied optical signals from clustered nanocrystals. The intensity and stability of nanoparticle labeling reagents supports high speed optical scanning and more quantitative analysis than can be obtained with conventional detection methods. The technology may include the feature of using sonication to reduce non-specific binding, useful in reducing background.

Many types of biological assays utilize a fluorophore to detect the presence of a biological target. While effective for some applications, organic fluorophores have significant disadvantages, including susceptibility to irreversible photo bleaching and chemical / biological degradation, which limits their use in long-term, time-resolved experiments and certain imaging techniques. In addition, some biological assays use fluorophores that interact only indirectly with a biological target, as in the case of conjugated secondary antibodies. Such assays require multiple reagents and binding steps, making the approach complicated and time consuming. This new technology overcomes these limitations to address the need for more effective technologies to label cells for diagnostic, pathological, forensic, or other analysis.

STATUS: Published US Patent Application 13/122,397 available at Available for licensing or collaborative research.


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