Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Hybrid Nanoparticle for Diagnostic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

Technology #5819

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Hongwei Chen
Managed By
Tiefei Dong
Senior Licensing Specialist, Life Sciences 734-763-5332
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending
US Patent Pending

Theranostic nanoparticles – small complexes that can be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes – represent a next generation of smart medicines. In this case, a hybrid nanoparticle with core/satellite architecture is capable of functioning as a contrast agent for diagnostic imaging of a cancer patient as well as a photothermal therapy agent for laser-based tumor ablation. These multimodal probes and non-toxic, easily synthesized, and have been shown effective for photothermal tissue ablation in mice.

Core/satellite design enables theranostic function

Leveraging unique properties of two different types of nanoparticles, researches at the University of Michigan have created a core/satellite nanoparticle. The core element serves as a contrast agent for various diagnostic imaging modes and the satellite particles can be activated by near-infrared light for photothermal therapy. Moreover, the nanoparticle complex can be tuned to effectively control the near-IR absorbance of the satellite particles and the core/satellite complex can be made to dissociate under specific environmental conditions (such as pH or temperature), possibly allowing the smaller satellite particles to penetrate deeper into the tumor mass.


  • Advanced, tunable photothermal therapy agent
  • Contrast agent for diagnostic imaging


  • Tunable absorption
  • Core/satellite dissociation can lead to better tumor penetration