Drug Delivery System with Precise Drug Release (20140084, Dr. Joseph Zasadzinski)

Technology No. 20140084

Drug Delivery via Hollow Gold Nanoshells

A new drug delivery system has been invented that can optimize both drug retention and drug delivery within the patient. The system includes hollow gold nanoshells (HGNs) chemically tethered to temperature-sensitive liposomes, and utilizes near infrared light (NIR) lasers to heat the liposomes and release drug. NIR laser intensity can be controlled to increase liposome permeability in a dose-dependent manner. The NIR light intensity required to reach sufficient temperatures is below that which could cause damage to human tissue (such as skin or eyes).

Controlled Drug Release

Current liposomal drug delivery methods struggle to control precise drug release at the appropriate time and rate. Without precise temporal and spatial control of drug release, nearby organs and tissues can easily be damaged. This drug delivery method eliminates these issues, as NIR irradiation can be applied precisely at the disease spot, and at the intensity required for an appropriately timed release. NIR light also penetrates centimeters within tissue, making it an optimal method to treat cancers within 1-5 cm of the body surface, such as skin, prostate, breast, head, and neck. Minimally invasive procedures could be developed to provide NIR light via fiber optics to deeper organs.


  • HGNs are non-toxic and cost effective
  • Controlled drug release with NIR laser
  • Temperature-sensitive liposomes controlled through heat exposure
    • Can be triggered to rapidly release drug
    • Drug delivery can be quickly “shut off” through liposome re-sealing

  • NIR light intensities do not damage tissue
  • NIR light irradiation
    • Produces a nearly instantaneous response
    • Allows for spatial and temporal control of drug release

Phase of Development In vitro assessment/proof of concept

Joseph A. Zasadzinski, PhD
Professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
External Link (www.cems.umn.edu)

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