Iodine-Based Nanoparticles for Diagnostic Medical Imaging Applications

Web Published:

Iodine-Based Nanoparticles for Diagnostic Medical Imaging Applications



Princeton Docket # 14-2943


Non-invasive medical imaging techniques such as X-ray-Computed Tomography (CT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) are powerful tools in diagnostic medicine. In these applications, contrast agents are needed to enhance the diagnostic quality of the images. Ideally, contrast agents would be biocompatible and contain high payloads of contrast agent. Thus, nanoparticle formulations of radiopaque or radioactive materials offer opportunities for improvements in diagnostic imaging. 


Researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University have developed the use of Flash NanoPrecipitation (FNP) as a platform technology to produce such nanoparticle formulations of iodine and its radioactive isotopes. This FNP process uniquely addresses the need to combine targeting with PET imaging. The nanoparticles are produced by a kinetically-controlled assembly process that involves the tuning of drug assembly and protective block copolymer coatings. In FNP, amphiphilic block copolymers direct self-assembly of biocompatible nanoparticles with high concentrations of encapsulated components. The precipitation process is controlled by carefully tuning the time scales of micromixing, self-assembly, and nucleation and growth. Using this method, various routes to iodinated nanoparticles have been explored. In one approach, an iodinated polymer can be encapsulated within the nanoparticles during the FNP process. Alternatively, FNP can be used to encapsulate polyphenolic compounds using traditional 124I tagging protocols and the phenolic moieties within the nanoparticles can be iodinated. Radioiodination of nanoparticles in the 80-300 nm range has been accomplished.




·         PET Imaging


§  FNP Process is:


·         Scalable


·         Versatile


·         Cost Effective


§  Targets cancer cells


Christina Tang is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University.    She earned a B.S. in General Engineering from Harvey Mudd College and her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from North Carolina State University.   The theme of her research experiences has been soft material synthesis and characterization and is driven by designing novel functional materials.  Applications have included designing polymer gels with tunable optical properties for application as tissue phantoms, composite thin films for gas separations, and polymer-biomolecule composite fibers for biosensor applications.  

Robert K Prud’homme is Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Director, Program in Engineering Biology, at Princeton University. His research focuses on how weak forces at the molecular level determine macroscopic properties at larger length scales. Equal time is spent on understanding the details of molecular-level interactions using NMR, neutron scattering, x-ray scattering, or electron microscopy and making measurements of bulk properties such as rheology, diffusion of proteins in gels, drop sizes of sprays, or pressure drop measurements in porous media. A major focus of his lab’s research is on using self-assembly to construct nanoparticles for drug delivery and imaging. The work is highly interdisciplinary; many of the projects involve joint advisors and collaborations with researchers at NIH, Argonne National Labs, CNRS in France, or major corporate research.


Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending. Various aspects of the FNP process have been successfully patented (US 8137699) and continuation applications are pending. 

Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.


Laurie Tzodikov
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-7256•

Laurie Bagley
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579•


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Laurie Tzodikov
Licensing Associates
Princeton University
Christina Tang
Robert Prud'homme