Automated detection and counting of biomolecules using nanoparticle probes

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Technology Overview

Single particle quantum dot (SPQD) imaging enables ultrasensitive detection for Western immunoblot analysis. This technology substantially improves detection methods of samples present at trace concentrations in complex biological sample matrices.


Western immunoblot is a low-cost and simple technology used in biomedical laboratories for detecting cellular proteins, such as HIV core proteins and other infectious biomolecules. Western immunoblotting faces significant limitations in detection sensitivity, making it difficult or impossible to use in situations requiring detection of trace proteins. This limitation may prevent early detection of proteins and or biomolecules associated with many infectious diseases.


To address these limitations, intensely bright, quantum dot (QD) nanoparticles attached to antibodies have been substituted for traditional fluorescent tags for improved sensitivity. SPQD imaging has improved the detection sensitivity 1,000-fold and has reduced the required tissue sample 100-fold relative to traditional Western blot analysis. QD imaging uses a computational blink analysis to achieve single particle detection, optimizing the detection sensitivity, and expanding the versatility of the Western immunoblot.


Studies at Oregon Health and Science University show that that QD tags allow simultaneous viewing of different proteins, resulting in significantly decreased experimental cost, time, and effort. SPQD technology improves analysis of complex biological matrices relative to other techniques such as immunostaining and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays that are either less sensitive or more labor intensive.


Competitive Environment and Market Overview

The addition of SPQD imaging to biomedical laboratories is extremely useful when cell populations are limited, such as solid tumor and stem cell tissues.

   •  Estimates for the Quantum Dot Instrument Market: $156 million

  •  Forecasted Market Growth Rate of 47.4%


Licensing Opportunity

OHSU Technology 1417 is available for exclusive licensing.


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For Information, Contact:
Anne Carlson
Technology Development Manager
Oregon Health & Science University
Tothu (tania) Vu
Brian Long
Benjamin Scholl
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