Zippering Antibody Transducer Nanomachine

Tech ID: 19886 / UC Case 2010-038-0

Brief Description

Targeted drug delivery is often critical in clinical treatments. Ideally, such delivery would be automatically responsive to physiologic parameters. ALZA, Durect, and other companies have made considerable investments toprovide such responsive dosing. More recently, monoclonal antibodies tagged with radioactive cancer treatment moieties have been developed to provide more focused treatment of cancers, sparing normal cells from these potent toxins. Implantable insulin pumps have been developed to provide a more natural philological level of insulin to diabetics.

Investigators at University of California at Berkeley have developed a nanozippering device that can both detect and transduce molecular signals. Theforces of antibody binding exert strain on the delivery vehicle and subsequently release an encapsulated secondary species. The device is in
highly miniaturized form, which provides advantages over implanted insulinpumps, slow release materials, osmotic pumps, and other 
currently employed drug release devices.

This new nanomachine provides biomolecularconcentration dependent release of signaling molecules, drugs, or imaging
agents. This new nanomachine, which uses the binding forces of an analyte to bend a component in a nano-device, will detect with great specificity anyantigenic bimolecular and transduce that signal into the release ofsecondary species. The secondary species need not be antigenic 
and couldinclude proteins, small molecules, haptens, imaging agents, nanoparticles,polymers, etc. The antigenic nature of the detection makes the devicebroadly applicable. The device is capable of operation in physiologicsolutions and requires no external power source. This fundamentalarchitecture exerts mechanical forces on a coupled delivery vehicle that contains a secondary species when the presence of a biomolecular species is detected.


  • targeted drug delivery
  • biomolecular concentration dependent release of signaling molecules,drugs, or imaging agents
  • biomarker detection in vivo and in vitro
  • clinical diagnostics


  • highly miniaturized
  • both signaling and treatment capabilities
  • no external power source
  • real-time biomolecular signal amplification


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  • Lavella, Gabriel J.
  • Maharbiz, Michel M.
  • Morfino, Roberto

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