Theranostic particle systems at Fraunhofer ISC

The Fraunhofer Translational Center for Regenerative Therapies TLC-RT develops multifunctional (nano)particles for diagnostics and regenerative medicine.

A broad portfolio of materials and synthesis methods enables high flexibility in terms of design, material, effective targeting and type of detection methods. The particle systems bind biomarkers, encapsulate drugs and are detectable by various in vitro and in vivo imaging techniques such as photoluminescence-based detection, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic particle imaging (MPI) and photoacoustic imaging.
Thus, the tailored particle systems open up new opportunities in the further development of individualized diagnostics and therapy.

Multifunctional (Nano)particles
© Fraunhofer ISC

Customized solutions

Tailor-made particle systems for different applications

Luminescent nanoparticle powders for in vitro diagnostics
© Fraunhofer ISC
Luminescent nanoparticle powders for in vitro diagnostics

Particle systems for in vitro diagnostics

Nanoparticles are promising tools for a wide range of in vitro diagnostic methods. At the Fraunhofer TLC-RT, there is a broad portfolio of (nano)particle systems available for a wide variety of questions. Within our portfolio, we focus on optically based methods.

Particle systems

  • Dye-doped silica nanoparticles
  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles
  • Lanthanoid-doped calcium fluoride and ­calcium phosphate nanoparticles
  • Dye-loaded liposomes



NanoFRET (Malaria Diagnostics)

Nanoparticle-based technology platform for rapid in vitro diagnostics in whole blood using a time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) method

> Further information

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
© unsplash
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Particle systems for medical imaging

In recent years, diagnostic imaging has become an important approach in the field of medicine. Besides the classical technology of X-ray examination, contrast-rich methods like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and ultrasonic techniques are often applied in the soft tissue area. The combination of the different diagnostic methods results in a more detailed and accurate diagnosis.

Contrast agents are used to improve the representation of structures and functions of the body by increasing sensitivity and reducing ambiguity in imaging techniques routinely. Fraunhofer ISC develops multifunctional (nano-)particles which are verifiable by different detection techniques (photoluminescence, photoacoustics, MRI) and allow a non-destructive imaging of biological processes.

Particle systems

  • Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles
  • Lanthanide-doped calcium fluoride and ­calcium phosphate nanoparticles
  • Dye-doped mesoporous silica nanoparticles
  • Contrast agent-loaded liposomes


  • Commissioned synthesis
  • Surface modification and biofunctionalization
  • Particle analytics
  • Biocompatibility and functional testing on human 3D in vitro models
  • Process automation of particle production
  • Adaptation of modular designed systems to your ­application techniques


Multifunctional Nanoparticles for Medical Imaging

New multifunctional nanoparticles which can be used as contrast agents in different imaging techniques e.g. photoluminescence microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic particle imaging (MPI) open new possibilities for medical imaging, e.g., in the fields of diagnostics or tissue characterization in regenerative medicine.

Theranostic Therapy
© Fraunhofer ISC
TEM image of liposomes

Particle systems for therapy

Due to their size and their adjustable properties, there is an increased application of nanoparticles in therapy. On the one hand, they can be applied as carrier for medical active substances and, on the other hand, be a therapeutic agent itself.

In their role as drug carrier they can encapsulate sensitive drugs. The particle matrix protects the active substances from outside impacts and enables the controlled drug release. Due to tailor-made structure and surface properties, the particles can be targeted to the respective location which enables a optimal dosage and reduces side effects.

Particle systems

  • Mesoporous silica nanoparticles
  • Liposomal formulations
  • Bioresorbable hybrid (nano)particles
  • Photocatalytic nanoparticles


  • Commissioned synthesis
  • Loading with different active ingredients
  • Surface modification and biofunctionalization
  • Particle analytics
  • Testing of biocompatibility and release ­kinetics on human 3D in vitro models
  • Quantification of drug release profiles by HPLC-MS


Research against Corona

The Fraunhofer TLC is working with other Fraunhofer groups to find effective therapeutic alternatives for SARS-CoV-2.


Development of novel therapeutic concepts for the treatment and prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infections with a focus on novel formulation concepts for respiratory drug delivery.

Besides the (nano)particle development, we can also offer commissioned synthesis and functionalizion of inorganic and hybrid particle systems as well as process upscaling including complete synthesis monitoring and documentation.

Commissioned synthesis of tailor-made ­particle ­systems

  • Detailed literature research
  • Feasibility studies
  • Prototyping
  • Surface functionalization and biofunctionalization
  • Integration of different drugs and contrast agents
  • Upscaling

Particle analytics

We offer extensive characterization of inorganic and organic (nano)particle systems e.g.:   

  • Size and polydispersity
  • Composition
  • Optical and magnetic properties
  • etc.

Biocompatibility and functional tests



Our expertise allows process steps performance of high precision, efficiency and controlled quality. This enables reproducible particle production with narrow defined specifications and short development cycles:   

  • Upscaling and automation of synthesis processes and testing
  • Adaptation of lab infrastructure to customer-specific processes
  • Process design and documentation according to GLP/GMP standards

Your local contact

Sofia Dembski

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Sofia Dembski

Deputy Director of TLC-RT / Head of Biomaterials

Fraunhofer Translational Center Regenerative Therapies TLC-RT
Neunerplatz 2
97082 Würzburg, Germany

Phone +49 931 4100-516

Jörn Probst

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Jörn Probst

Head of Biomaterials and Strategic Development

Fraunhofer Translational Center Regenerative Therapies TLC-RT
Neunerplatz 2
97082 Würzburg, Germany

Phone +49 931 4100-300