Project TitleNanostructures for Medulloblastoma and other CNS cancers
Track Code2009-172
Short Description

Magnetic nanostructure that can selectively target central nervous system cancers for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes

#therapeutics #CNS #cancer #nanotechnology #nanoparticles


Medulloblastoma is a primary pediatric brain tumor. Typically, it has poor prognosis due to its frequent metastasis and reappearance. Most patients are diagnosed late in the disease so current treatments have not significantly improved the outcomes. Northwestern University researchers have developed a new therapeutic and diagnostic (theranostic) agent that will significantly improve treatment options for medulloblastoma and other cancers of the central nervous system. The scientists functionalized magnetic nanoparticles with a molecule that specifically recognizes tumor cells in the brain and binds to them. Once there, the magnetic properties of the nanoparticle can be exploited in two ways: as a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) aiding in diagnosis of cancer, and as a therapeutic when the nanoparticles are activated to produce heat and destroy the tumor cells. In laboratory tests this agent can detect a single cancer cell, which promises to change the way central nervous system cancers are detected and push the point of treatment much earlier in the disease process.

TagsTHERAPEUTICS: CNS, THERAPEUTICS: cancer, nanotechnology: nanoparticles
Posted DateMar 13, 2015 3:08 PM


Vinayak P. Dravid

Saurabh Sharma

Tadanori Tomita


  • MRI contrast agent
  • Anti-cancer agent (heat therapy)


  • Specific for tumor cells
  • Intense signal in MR imaging
  • Dual purpose for therapy and diagnosis


Joshi HM, De M, Ku K, Barick K, Aslam M, Sharma S, Tomita T, Dravid V (2010). Magnetic Nanostructures (MNS) in Biomedicine: Role of Size, Shape and Composition,  Polymer Preprints. 51: 34-35.

IP Status

Issued US patent No. 9,095,629

Contact Information

Arjan Quist, PhD

Invention Associate 

(p) 847-467-0305