Polymer Modified Nanoparticles as Contrast Agents for the
Non-invasive Measurement of pH in vivo
Stephen G. Boyes
Summary: A non-invasive and accurate method for in vivo pH measurements
Description: A low extracellular pH (pHe) in many solid cancer tumors is an important factor in
producing more aggressive cancer phenotypes and in causing metathesis of the primary carcinoma, both
of which are leading causes of cancer morbidity and mortality. Thus, the ability to measure tumor pHe in
vivo using a non-invasive technique that provides high spatiotemporal resolution has the potential to
improve cancer treatments. In this work, a novel pH responsive nanoscale multimodal contrast agent
has been developed for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed x-ray tomography (CT). The
imaging agents are based on hybrid gadolinium-iodine nanoparticles that have been surface modified
with pH responsive multifunctional polymers. They have molecular targeting capabilities and
demonstrates large changes in relaxivity to improve both the selectivity and sensitivity of in vivo pHe
measurement. This means that the growth of tumor and the effectiveness of the cancer treatments can
be determined much sooner than is currently available and these treatments would be able to be
adjusted for greater efficacy. In addition there are many other diseases (e.g., diabetes, pulmonary
hypertension, cardiac disease, etc.) that involve the development of hypoxic conditions and,
consequently, in vivo acidic pH.
Main Advantages of this Invention
 Flexible construct
 Can be used to treat a wide variety of
 Uses imaging instruments that are already
available in hospitals
Potential Areas of Application
 Personalized medicine
 Monitoring of cancer treatments
 Potential to apply to any disease causing inflammation
ID number: 13014
Publication: L. Zhu et al., Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2016, 8, 5040-5050. (Available upon request.)
Intel ectual Property Status: US utility patent application pending (#14/642,464)
Opportunity: We are seeking an investor or strategic partner to help develop this portfolio.
For more information contact:
William Vaughan, Director of Technology Transfer
Colorado School of Mines, 1500 Illinois Street, Guggenheim Hall Suite 314, Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-2555; e-mail: wvaughan@mines.edu