A technology for life
The use of quantum dots for biological imaging provides researchers and clinicians new and versatile approaches to a range of biomedical challenges. The resistance to photo-bleaching, narrow emission, high energy absorption, and single source excitation all are strong reasons to make quantum dots superior fluorescence labelling agents as opposed to organic dyes. While traditional heavy metal-containing quantum dots have been explored for some time under experimental conditions in biomedical research, diagnostics, and drug discovery, the advent of heavy metal-free quantum dots opens up new horizon in the use of their unique spectral and colloidal properties for clinical applications, disease detection and therapeutics.
A salient step through the development of bio-compatible quantum dots is the construction of a coating material that can render the nanoparticles water soluble and at the same time equip them with functional groups for attaching tags of biomedical interest. The coating material should also provide stability, lower toxicity and favourable pharmacokinetics. Nanoco Technologies is developing coating materials that fulfil all these requirements in order to achieve the highest possible performance in the biomedical field.
Biomedical applications of quantum dots may include:
1. Microscopy and multiplexed histology
3. Drug delivery
4. Photodynamic therapy
5. In vivo whole animal and clinical imaging (e.g., angiography)
6. Tissue mapping and demarcation (e.g., sentinel lymph node)
7. Real time detection of intracellular events, signalling, and bio-sensing
8. Tracking cell migration (e.g., stem cells)
9. Low cost but sensitive point-of-care detection (e.g., lateral flow)
10. Environment and bio-defence