Magnetofluorescent nanoparticles have come more and more into the spotlight recently for their many applications in biomedical detection and application of area-specific drugs. Most conventional nanoparticles are coated with anti-fouling polyethylene glycol (PEG) in order to achieve the required bio-availability and biocompatibility. However, PEGs are sensitive to solution pH and tend to cause nanoparticles to aggregate in acidic or salt-rich microenvironments. This aggregation can further degrade or even change the diagnosis/therapy functionalities of the original nanoparticles. This understandably limits their applications in biomedical applications, which almost always occur in harsher environments.
Starting with poly(maleic anhydride-alt-1-octadecene) (PMAO polymers) researchers at the University Of Nevada, Reno converted anhydride rings in polymers to the desired zwitterionic group, thus modifying the PMAO polymers to zwitterionic amphiphiles. Utilizing these, researchers were able to apply the zwitterionic amphiphile coating to magnetofluorescent nanoparticles (ZW-MFNPs), which can now be used safely in many biomedical applications.
- Excellent stability in aqueous solutions with a wide pH/ionic-strength range and physiological media
- Low cytotoxicity
- Bioconjugation capability for specific biomolecular binding
- Able to overcome the limitations of PEGs for nanoparticle applications