Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia

Optical Quantification of enzymatic activity: a non-invasive diagnosis tool

Posted by Institute of Chemical Research of CataloniaResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

The platform allows for accurate measurement of the enzymatic activity thanks to the presence of an optical signal that remains unchanged during digestion and serves as a ruler to which modifications of another signal, affected by enzymatic activity, is compared. The platform can be used in small devices, at point of care and in non-invasive diagnostic procedures. The platform is also highly versatile as a simple modification of the particle will allow using it in totally different diagnostic applications.

Description of the technology

The technology relates to a platform allowing for accurate quantification of enzymatic activity in fluid samples by measurment of the optical response of the system after a determined period of incubation with the sample. Such platform can find applications in various non-invasive diagnostic applications, such as alimentary disorders, cystic fibrosis and other diseases involving enzymes as biomarkers. The case of trypsin activity, for cystic fibrosis diagnosis, has been further developed. Partners are sought for the joint development of new applications for the platform and to develop a kit for non-invasive, point-of-care diagnosis.


The platform consists in colour-coded nanoparticles made of quantum dots coated with silica, the nanoparticle being functionalized with labelled molecules sensitive to enzymatic digestion or cleavage. The particle contains two different populations of quantum dots. The label of the molecule is such that an energy transfer exists between the label and the outer shell of the particle, said transfer disappearing upon digestion.

Main advantages of its use

  • accurate determination of enzymatic activity
  • non invasive
  • portable, appliable at point of care
  • versatile technology


  • celiac disease diagnostic
  • cystic fbrosis diagnostic
  • other diagnostic tools

Additional information (attached documents)

Additional information (attached documents)

Related keywords

  • Diagnostics, Diagnosis
  • Medical Furniture
  • Medical Biomaterials
  • Medical Research
  • Diagnostic
  • Diagnostic services
  • Molecular diagnosis
  • In-vitro diagnostics
  • Prenatal diagnostic
  • Diagnosis
  • Point-of-Care
  • cystic fibrosis
  • quantum dots
  • Non-invasive

About Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia

Technology Transfer Office from Spain

The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia represents one of the very first fruits of the new scientific policy of the government of Catalonia (Spain) aimed at creating new research centres in strategic areas. ICIQ, in particular, has been created with the ambition of becoming a reference for chemistry in the European Research Space.

Our society faces important challenges in the XXI century, among which health and environmental concerns are of outmost importance. Chemistry will play an essential role in both of these challenges. To succeed, our increasingly knowledge-based economy will require a solid and strong chemical industry; currently 150.000 jobs in Catalonia (and more than 2 million in the EU) directly arise from the chemical industry. In order for this industry to be successful in the future, it must take a sustainable approach based on the rational use of feed-stocks and raw materials. For this, fundamental chemical research needs to be funded and novel approaches into transforming matter must be developed.

We at ICIQ consider that catalysis is the key activity for sustainable chemistry. Catalytic processes can minimize raw materials and energy consumption, and can lead to the selective formation of target products with minimal generation of wastes. In line with this consideration, we have taken catalysis as one of our main research topics.

Complementary to our research focus, attention has been paid to the development of a simple and efficient organizational model for ICIQ, able to overcome known difficulties normally associated with larger and more traditional research institutions. The Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia aims at bridging the gap between academic research and industry, focusing its research on catalytic chemical processes for applications in health, energy and sustainability.

At ICIQ, we consider that patents are highly efficient, safe and solid tools to provide protection from competitors. This is why we file patents for our in-house developed-technologies: to give our co-development projects with industry a strong starting IP position. As a research centre our goal is always to co-develop our technology adapting it to the industrial partner’s specific needs and ultimately transfer the technology to this company, with a flexible licensing strategy adapted to each case.

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