Signal amplification of gene detection with polymeric nanospheres


Published: 11Oct2019

Invention 05094

Signal amplification of gene detection with polymeric nanospheres


A synthesized polymer for amplifying luminescent signal strength during protein and nucleic acid detection assays has been developed at McGill University.


Market Need

During gene function and expression studies, DNA, RNA, and protein signals must be amplified to reach a useful level of detection. This is achieved by either increasing the number of biological molecules present or intensifying the strength of the signal detection method. New techniques for signal enhancement of gene detection, however, have primarily focused on improving enzymatic amplification of the molecule instead of increasing the signal itself. While these methods are valuable, they can be lengthy and may not preserve all the information contained in the DNA or RNA to be analyzed.


Technology Summary

This technology is a synthesized polymer with integrated luminescent cores that greatly improves detection of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Specifically, polymer chains with luminescent metal centers can self-assemble into nanospheres that effectively label molecules with more than 10,000 highly luminescent units. These polymeric nanoparticles can be synthesized with an essentially unlimited number of emission colors, thus allowing the simultaneous detection of different targets. With the ability to easily penetrate cells and detect low quantities of proteins or nucleic acids, this invention can be applied to early detection of disease, biological imaging, or detecting toxic biological agents for bioterrorism prevention.



  • Polymer nanospheres can be synthesized with unlimited number of emission colors
  • Can easily penetrate cells with far less non-specific binding

Patent Status

Issued US

Contact Information

Jarred Chicoine
Innovation and Partnerships
jarred.chicoine [at]
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