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Nanoparticle Candidate as a Biomedical Theranostic

Novel nanoassembly comprising multiple linear tentacles anchored onto a spherical core for use as a theranostic agent

Published: 22nd July 2020
Nanoparticle Candidate as a Biomedical Theranostic
Please note, header image is purely illustrative. Source:


There is a huge drive toward quantitative and noninvasive cancer detection and more targeted cancer treatments. Emerging technologies must balance a good depth of penetration for whole-body imaging, spatial resolution and reduction in unnecessary radiation dose for the patient.

There have been a number of developments in optical biomedical imaging research utilising gold nanostructures. Compositions have advanced beyond basic research, towards demonstrating potential as diagnostic tools and translation into clinical applications.

Gold nanostructures have much to offer, with optical properties that can be tailored to allow use in multiple optical imaging modalities as exogenous contrast agents, as well as benefiting from photothermal conversion which can facilitate photothermal therapy as a cancer treatment.

Technology Overview

This patented composition and method utilises off-the-shelf reactants: gold nanoparticles (15 and 5 nm) and a commercially available polymeric linker, without involving elaborate linker or nanoparticle synthesis. Using a simple and proprietary production methodology, nanoassemblies with a distinct 3D morphology of multiple tentacles anchored onto a central core is easily and reliably produced.

Importantly, the resulting novel nanoassembly exhibits significant broadband NIR absorbance in addition to visible absorbance, making these structures highly suitable for biomedical diagnostic and tracking applications in the biological optical window of 650−1100 nm.

Further Details

Peer reviewed publication ‑ Dey et al., 2020.

Figure 1


This novel core multi‑tentacle nanoassembly has the benefits of:

  • improved broadband NIR absorbance and localised surface plasmon resonance over ‘traditional’ core‑satellite nanoparticles ‑ offering enhanced tissue penetration and non‑destructive optical diagnostic capability
  • dramatic enhancement in electric field in and around the nanojunctions ‑ valuable in surface-enhanced optical spectroscopies affording improved contrast
  • biocompatible with healthy (noncancerous) human cells ‑ good safety profile and highly specific versus traditional cancer therapies (e.g. radiotherapy)
  • toxic for cancerous human cells ‑ efficacious as a therapeutic agent


  • Drug discovery
  • Healthcare
  • Cancer/oncology therapeutic
  • Cancer/oncology diagnostic
  • Photothermal therapy
  • Theranostic


The University of Exeter is seeking a commercial partner to either further co-develop this technology or license the patent(s) and translate the positive experimental findings into clinical application.

IP Status
  • Patent application submitted
  • Provisional patent
  • Development partner
  • Commercial partner
  • Licensing