Magnetic Nanoparticles for Cancer Cell Classification

Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor accounting for 47.7% of all brain cancers. Unfortunately, treatments are limited, and survival is poor, with approximately only 40% living past the first-year post-diagnosis and 17% in the second year.

The Need

Developing drugs for cancers like GBM is challenging as traditional two-dimensional cell culture models do not fully encompass all the features of human tissues. They do not adequately simulate living tissue and microenvironments. Cancer stem cells can readily adapt to changing microenvironments leading to drug resistance and recurrence. Hence, there is a significant need to develop new screening tools that consider the various microenvironment components and the different subpopulations within a given cancer type for better understanding the disease and developing efficacious drugs.

The Technology

This invention describes the development of peptide nanoparticles that mimic the extracellular matrix present within the brain – and other tissues – that have an affinity for cancer cells. As a result, tumor cells involved in tumor progression preferentially bind to the nanoparticles and can be isolated and studied within the laboratory. The inventors have developed prototypes of the nanoparticles, showed the cells could be isolated, and enabled the classification of subpopulations cancer cells selected by extracellular matrix affinity.

Commercial Applications

This invention can be a life science tool for basic research and drug development for GBM and other cancers.


Existing tools for research and evaluating drugs for brain cancers (and many other cancers) are limited as they do not simulate complex microenvironments in the brain. This invention overcomes these limitations, enabling scientists to design drugs that can specifically address the growth and migration of cancer stem cells based on how they interact with the extracellular matrix within the brain.


PCT Patent Application Filed

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