Ultra-Small Gelatin Nanoparticle for Improved Therapeutics & Diagnostics

Inventors at the University of Missouri have developed small-scale (10 nm) gelatin nanoparticles for cancer therapeutics and tumor imaging applications.

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, with projections that it will cause as many as ~16.4 million deaths per year by 2040.

Although a variety of therapeutic and diagnostic options are available, each has pros and cons with regard to the challenges of 1) delivering imaging and/or therapeutic compounds only to the cancer cells of interest, and 2) delivering compounds into cancer cells to affect imaging and therapy. No single approach excels at both. Nanoparticle approaches have proven a useful platform for targeting tumors, as they enable modular switching of targeting moieties but can fall short in delivery due to difficulties in reproducibly generating small nanoparticles that are easily taken in by cancer cells.

MU inventors have developed methods to synthesize ultra-small (10 nm) gelatin nanoparticles that are targetable and more readily delivered internally to the cells they target. These ultra-small nanoparticles can serve as an improved platform for a variety of theranostics applications.


  • Diagnostics platform for multiple diseases
  • Therapeutics platform for multiple diseases


  • 10 nm size penetrates more deeply into tumors
  • Biodegradable & non-toxic gelatin nanostructure
  • Ability to retarget via modular switching of targeting moieties

Patent Status:
Patent pending

State of Development:
Pre-clinical; Proof of concept established

Raghuraman Kannan, Dhananjay Suresh


Technology Manager:
Brian Buntaine, MS, MBA
Senior Manager, Technology Transfer
Phone: 573-882-0470
Email: buntaineb@missouri.edu

Contact Information:

Name: Brian Buntaine, MS, MBA

Title: Senior Manager, Technology Transfer

Department: MU Technology Advancement Office

Email: buntaineb@missouri.edu

Phone: 573-882-0470

Address: Columbia, Missouri 65211