Fine Tuning Nanoparticles for Biotargeting Applications

Researchers from Abo Akademi University and the University of Turku in Finland have discovered that the stability of functionalised nanoparticles is crucially dependent on all functional groups present on the surface. Using the sensitive nanoscale particle sizing and zeta potential measurement capabilities of a Zetasizer Nano from Malvern Panalytical, they showed that poly(ethylene imine) (PEI) functionalised silica particles made promising candidates for bioapplications. This research has now led to the development of a selective nanoparticulate system for cancer cell targeting.

One of the key aims in biomedical science is to develop applications that can target and deliver drug to specific cell populations. Porous, non-toxic silica based structures have potential as biocompatible vehicles for intracellular delivery of an active ingredient. However, any modification to the original particle structure, such as the addition of an imaging agent, surface coating or a targeting agent, changes both its size and surface charge. This leads to changes in the stability of the particulate system.

Using both particle sizing using dynamic light scattering (DLS) and zeta potential measurements with a Zetasizer Nano, the Finnish research team showed both direct and indirect effects on the suspension stability of functionalised silica particles as a result of surface modification. These results were published in the Journal of Nanomaterials in 2008. The team then went on, publishing results in ACS Nano in 2009 that used similar techniques to develop a multifunctional nanodevice for cancer therapy that demonstrated remarkably good cell specificity.

The size, stability and cell specificity of functionalised nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery is crucially dependent on each surface modification as well as the overall surface charge. Besides the fact that surface charge along with particle size are directly decisive for a nanoparticles’ biodistribution, other highly critical factors, such as cytotoxicity and the efficiency of cellular uptake, are associated with nanoparticle size. While the technique of dynamic light scattering (DLS) is ideally suited for the determination of particle size, zeta potential measurements indicate the repulsive force that is present and can be used to predict the long-term stability of the product. By enabling both types of measurements, with the sensitivity and resolution required to define nanoscale changes, Malvern Panalytical’s Zetasizer is the ideal solution for biomedical scientists.

The Malvern Zetasizer Nano


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Malvern Panalytical. (2019, March 19). Fine Tuning Nanoparticles for Biotargeting Applications. AZoNano. Retrieved on June 19, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Malvern Panalytical. "Fine Tuning Nanoparticles for Biotargeting Applications". AZoNano. 19 June 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Malvern Panalytical. "Fine Tuning Nanoparticles for Biotargeting Applications". AZoNano. (accessed June 19, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Malvern Panalytical. 2019. Fine Tuning Nanoparticles for Biotargeting Applications. AZoNano, viewed 19 June 2024,

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.