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NanoHybrids Receives Funding to Develop Breakthrough Technology in Cancer Detection and Diagnosis
NanoHybrids Inc., a nanotechnology and molecular imaging company, recently received $225,000 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a new breakthrough immunohistochemistry (IHC) technology.
The project builds on NanoHybrids expertise producing high quality gold nanoparticles that enable innovative approaches to imaging. With this Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, NanoHybrids will develop a new photoacoustic microscopy platform to quantitatively assess biomarker distribution in biopsied and histological human samples.
Current immunoassay techniques used to diagnose cancer, including IHC, suffer from staining inconsistencies, lack of reproducibility, background interference and limited dynamic range of detection. Further, many histological results are qualitative or based on subjective human scoring for discrete quantitation. NanoHybrids new technology will replace these inconsistent and subjective methods with a commercial system capable of quantifying cancer biomarkers for objective detection and diagnosis.
The Phase I focus is development of antibody conjugated silica-coated gold nanoparticles specifically designed to label hallmark cancer biomarkers. The nanoparticles will be used to selectively label malignancies in biopsied tissue slides, much like current immunohistochemistry. However, NanoHybrids silica-coated gold nanoparticles possess extremely high optical absorption that is approximately 10X higher than conventional dyes. When imaged with photoacoustic microscopy (or general non-ionizing imaging such as optoacoustic or thermoacoustic microscopy) the nanoparticles serve as beacons highlighting cancerous regions, vital for diagnosis and treatment.
“We are very excited about this funding because the impact this technology can have in diagnostic pathology, surgical guidance, and molecular therapies is unparalleled,” stated Dr. Jason Cook, Senior Scientist at NanoHybrids and principal investigator on the grant. “Overall, this innovation can enable advanced diagnosis, better assessment of both cancer grade and stage and even determination of the aggressiveness of the disease which hopefully leads to improved and personalized treatment.”
Using quantitative photoacoustic microscopy to distinguish cancer-bound gold nanoparticles, tumors are detectable even in small lesions consisting of only a few cells, and the molecular expression profile can be accurately quantified. The technology also promises up to a 30-fold reduction in sample preparation and processing time, enabling near real time assessment. With this work NanoHybrids remains dedicated to improving patient outcomes by developing advanced imaging technologies.