Statistical prediction of nanoparticle delivery: From culture media to cell

M. Rowan Brown, Nicole Hondow, Rik Brydson, Paul Rees, Andrew P. Brown, Huw D. Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The application of nanoparticles (NPs) within medicine is of great interest; their innate physicochemical characteristics provide the potential to enhance current technology, diagnostics and therapeutics. Recently a number of NP-based diagnostic and therapeutic agents have been developed for treatment of various diseases, where judicious surface functionalization is exploited to increase efficacy of administered therapeutic dose. However, quantification of heterogeneity associated with absolute dose of a nanotherapeutic (NP number), how this is trafficked across biological barriers has proven difficult to achieve. The main issue being the quantitative assessment of NP number at the spatial scale of the individual NP, data which is essential for the continued growth and development of the next generation of nanotherapeutics. Recent advances in sample preparation and the imaging fidelity of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) platforms provide information at the required spatial scale, where individual NPs can be individually identified. High spatial resolution however reduces the sample frequency and as a result dynamic biological features or processes become opaque. However, the combination of TEM data with appropriate probabilistic models provide a means to extract biophysical information that imaging alone cannot. Previously, we demonstrated that limited cell sampling via TEM can be statistically coupled to large population flow cytometry measurements to quantify exact NP dose. Here we extended this concept to link TEM measurements of NP agglomerates in cell culture media to that encapsulated within vesicles in human osteosarcoma cells. By construction and validation of a data-driven transfer function, we are able to investigate the dynamic properties of NP agglomeration through endocytosis. In particular, we statistically predict how NP agglomerates may traverse a biological barrier, detailing inter-agglomerate merging events providing the basis for predictive modelling of nanopharmacology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number155101
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 22 2015


  • nanoparticle
  • nanotherapeutic
  • nonhomogeneous Poisson process
  • transmission electron microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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