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The patent-pending methodology and surface chemistry used in the manufacture of Sona's Gemini and Omni gold nanorods makes them perfectly suited for both in-vitro and in-vivo applications.

POC Diagnostics

• Lateral Flow Assays.

• Detect more than one biomarker.

• Distinct visual difference between test lines.

• Scalable and cost effective.

Drug Delivery

• Use as a carrier device to deliver payload(s) of drug molecules to cells, tissue, or organs.

• High efficiency of the GNRs for delivering pain relieving agents over other nanoparticles.

• Eliminates the genetic modification of target cells.

Photothermal Therapy

• Nanorods absorb in the near IR, and generate heat when excited with IR light.

• Nanorods can be conjugated with tumor targeting motifs and ingested. When a patient is exposed to IR light nanorods are locally heated, destroying only the cancerous tissue while leaving healthy cells intact.

Cell Imaging

• Gold bio-markers with plasmonic resonance have many advantages.

• Produce high image quality.

• Yield both qualitative and quantitative data.

• More intuitive for the health care practitioners to interpret.

Point of Care Testing

Point of care testing (POCT) is when a test is administered at the time of consultation with near-instant availability of results; allowing the practitioner to make immediate and informed decisions about patient care. Point of care testing allows a diagnosis to be made in the fastest possible manner, when traditional testing is typically conducted in a laboratory setting.

Where is POCT Done?
Point of care testing can be carried out at the bedside, or near the patient. Simplified, POCT is any testing performed in a healthcare environment which is not sent to a lab for results.

POCT can be performed in the following settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Urgent Care Clinics
  • General Practitioner’s Offices
  • Mobile clinics

The advantage of Sona’s lateral flow test (LFT) in detecting COVID-19 is that results are achieved after 15 minutes, and the administration of the test does not require the specific expertise of a health care professional.


Lateral flow assay kits (or assay tests) represent a variety of simple techniques in which an analyte is detected via its combination (conjugation) with a target molecule embedded in, for example, a paper strip or a dip stick. Typical applications include home-based medical tests such as pregnancy tests.

The technology for most test kits is based on a staged transport of a bodily fluid (saliva, urine, or blood) in which the fluid is wicked along the first stage to a second stage, the site of bio-chemical reaction indicator. The premise of most home-based tests is that as the analyte is absorbed and reacted, an area of the strip changes color in comparison to a control strip. Gold nanospheres (GNSs) have modernized many conventional colorimetric indicators due to the inherent sensitivity of the surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Tunability of SPR of GNRs brings in host of novel optical properties that were never attainable with GNSs e.g. large color variation in compact size regime; this feature opens up new possibilities of multiplexing to create LFA for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of multiple analytes.

AngewanteChemie – Significantly Improved Analytical Sensitivity of Lateral Flow Immunoassays by Using Thermal Contrast†

Lateral Flow Diagnostic Applications

Food &



Consumer Health
& Pharmaceuticals

Drugs of



Lateral Flow Diagnostic Applications

Food & Beverage

Medical Diagnostics

Environmental Testing

Consumer Health & Pharmaceuticals

Drugs of Abuse




One of the exciting applications of GNRs that will potentially drive global commercialization of GNR technology will be their use as a carrier device to deliver payload(s) of drug molecules to cells, tissue, or organs.

An example is intractable pain (chronic pain or cancer-related pain) treatment and management where a nano-tool/nano-device for this treatment consists of GNRs wrapped in high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Research on this topic has demonstrated the high efficiency of the GNRs for delivering the pain relieving agents over other nanoparticles. This nano-tool also eliminates the genetic modification of target cells.

The second and most recent application of GNRs is in the treatment of colon cancer through a triple action GNR based therapy. Researchers have demonstrated that the combination of gene, drug and phototherapy not only cured the cancer but worked further to stop its reoccurrence.

The Photothermal feature of GNRs was used to enable both drug release and to kill cancer cells.

With Conventional Gold Nanorods

Due to the denaturing effect of CTAB towards biomolecules these techniques first require the tedious removal of CTAB off the surface of the GNR, followed by a rapid coating of GNRs with bio-friendly agents, and then a final wrapping with the desired therapeutic agents – this is an unnecessary, time-consuming and expensive process now that Sona CTAB-FREE GNRs are available.

With Sona’s Gold Nanoparticles

Sona GNRs are manufactured using techniques that do not involve CTAB in any manner. Additionally, surfactants used in the manufacturing of Sona GNRs are bio-friendly.


Nature Materials – Colon cancer treatment – Local triple-combination therapy results in tumour regression and prevents recurrence in a colon cancer model

Angewante Chemie – Chronic pain reliever – Thermosensitive Ion Channel Activation in Single Neuronal Cells by Using Surface-Engineered Plasmonic Nanoparticles

Advanced Functional Materials – Inhibition of Multidrug Resistance of Cancer Cells by Co-Delivery of DNA Nanostructures and Drugs Using Porous Silicon Nanoparticles@Giant Liposomes.

Advanced Functional Materials – Biodegradable Photothermal and pH Responsive Calcium Carbonate@Phospholipid@Acetalated Dextran Hybrid Platform for Advancing Biomedical Applications


Photothermal Cancer Treatment

Photothermal therapy (PTT) refers to the use of electromagnetic radiation (most often, a low energy infrared radiation) for the treatment of a host of diseases, including cancer. In PTT, one of the most promising emerging applications has been the use of gold nanorods as agents for thermal ablation, as the shape of the gold nanorods leads to plasmon resonance bands that can be tuned from 600 nm up to 1000 nm, simply by changing the aspect ratio and length of the nanorod.

Surface modifications of GNRs are needed to enhance the accumulation of GNR in tumor, a common way is to wrap GNR in a long chain polymer, the polyethylene glycol ether (PEG). This process is called PEGylation and first requires tedious removal of excess CTAB. SONA GNR’s can accept PEGylation or any other surface modifications faster than CTAB-based GNRs due to the patent-pending surface chemistry of Sona GNRs which offers low concentration of dispersing surfactants. And, our surface chemistry is also Bio-friendly as compared to CTAB-based gold nanorods. Once a sufficient number of gold nanorods have localized within the cell, the tumor can be illuminated ex-vivo with a near IR laser. These nanorods absorb a significant amount of the very safe incident light energy, and pass off the energy in the form of heat creating a local thermal temperature ramp that obliterates the cancer cells – also called photothermal ablation of cancer cells.

With Conventional Gold Nanoparticles

All GNRs to date are being synthesized with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB), and further stabilized with CTAB; or, with polymers; or, are capped with citrate ions. None of these methodologies eliminates the cytotoxic nature of CTAB-based GNR’s. Because CTAB binds very strongly to GNRs there is always some CTAB in the form of CTA+ regardless of ‘washing’, capping and PEGylation techniques – all processes that are time consuming and expensive for commercial and research end-users. A considerable hurdle is expected from the FDA and other regulatory approvals bodies for these CTAB-based GNRs to succeed simply because of the fact that in human history CTAB has never been injected into blood stream and therefore, its long term effects are unknown.

With SONA’s Gold Nanoparticles

SONA’s gold nanoparticles are produced and stabilized without CTAB, eliminating a significant obstacle for regulatory acceptance to in-vivo uses of GNR technology. The, result is patent-pending Bio-friendly Sona GNR products that can enable the use of gold nanorods inside humans and animals for medical treatments and diagnosis. Hence, the potential benefits for in-vivo applications are immediately apparent. Sona GNRs created using our patent-pending surfactant methodologies have the added benefit of excellent tolerance to a wide range of bodily fluids, and superior temperature stability in both hot and extreme cold.


Nano Small Micro -Cellular Uptake and Cytotoxicity of Gold Nanorods: Molecular Origin of Cytotoxicity and Surface Effects

Springer Series in Biomaterials Science and Engineering – Gold Nanorods for Biomedical Imaging and Therapy in Cancer

Journal of the American Chemical Society – Near Infrared Laser-Induced Targeted Cancer Therapy Using Thermoresponsive Polymer Encapsulated Gold Nanorods

Future Medicine – Lysosome–mitochondria-mediated apoptosis specifically evoked in cancer cells induced by gold nanorods

Science Direct – Rose-bengal-conjugated gold nanorods for in vivo photodynamic and photothermal oral cancer therapies

Advanced Functional Materials – Inhibition of Multidrug Resistance of Cancer Cells by Co-Delivery of DNA Nanostructures and Drugs Using Porous Silicon Nanoparticles@Giant Liposomes.


Based on the same principle of photothermal therapy, photothermal liposuction refers to the ability to use thermal energy to melt away fat tissue by bursting overly swollen fat cells. Typically, this is done using a high energy laser light that cannot discriminate between fat cells and blood vessels. Gold nanorods however facilitate discrete popping of swollen fat cells with low energy laser light. The fat-melting action of the gold nanorods, when combined with liposuction, provides a new, non-invasive alternative to laser lipolysis which causes significant bruising and scarring requiring lengthy recovery from the procedure.

With Conventional Gold Nanoparticles

Conventional nanoparticles are synthesized with cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as the stabilizing surfactant, and are stabilized either with poly(ethylene glycols), or with citrate anions. Both of these modifications can have a significant negative impact on the uptake of the GNR’s into fat cells. Additionally, little is known of the thermal stability profile of these modified rods, i.e., would these modified rods break down under the irradiation required of thermal fatty tissue ablation? Would any of the standard treatments for reducing the cytotoxic nature of GNRs be effective in the prevention of leaching the CTA+ cation under thermal stress?

With Sona’s Gold Nanoparticles

Sona’s gold nanoparticles are produced without CTAB, the most significant obstacle to fatty tissue injection and irradiation is eliminated. The patent-pending CTAB-free surfactant methodology has the added benefit of excellent tolerance in a range of bodily fluids, and a superior temperature profile versus conventional GNRs.


Research Gate – Evaluation of tissue thermal effects from 1064/1320-nm laser-assisted lipolysis and its clinical implications Laser-assisted liposuction B. E. DiBernardo et al.

Science News – Laser liposuction melts fat, results in tighter skin


Bio-markers are indicators used to alert a health-care practitioner to the presence of a particular disease state or some other physiological state of an individual or animal. Bio-markers are also agents that can be introduced into an individual or animal (both in-vivo and in-vitro) in order to examine organ function or some other aspect of health.

Although there are many different types of bio-markers available – from simple salts to conjugated molecules and nucleotides, biomarkers that involve plasmonic nanoparticles such as Sona’s CTAB-FREE gold nanorod products – are gaining increasing attention. Gold bio-markers with plasmonic resonance have many advantages; they produce high image quality, can yield both qualitative and quantitative data, and they are more intuitive for the health care practitioner. Gold nanoparticles offer improved detection of diseased tissue. SONA’s bio-friendly gold nanoparticles offer the state of the art for the development of new bio-imaging techniques for the detection and treatment of diseases.

With Conventional Gold Nanoparticles

For bio-imaging techniques, a subtle balance between scattering and absorption properties of plasmonic nanoparticle is required.In present technical environment, this balance is achieved by selecting properly sized of nanoparticles for the application. Gold nanoparticles of size >80nm show scattering 100,000 times higher than light emitted by any fluorescence dye.

Interest in the plasmonic properties of GNRs for Bio-imaging is gaining momentum globally due to tuneability of their surface plasmon resonance when compared to any other nanoparticle geometry product such as spheres, urchins or stars.

With Sona’s Gold Nanoparticles

Since Sona’s gold nanoparticles are produced without CTAB, they are Bio-friendly and ready for proof-of-concept testing for in-vivo and in-vitro bio-imaging for both humans and animals.

Also, the patent-pending surfactant methodology used to produce these GNRs allows the binding of non-thiolated macromolecules.


The Journal of Physical Chemistry – Calculated Absorption and Scattering Properties of Gold Nanoparticles of Different Size, Shape, and Composition: Applications in Biological Imaging and Biomedicine.

Science Direct – Localized surface plasmon resonance of gold nanorods and assemblies in the view of biomedical analysis

Microscopy Research and Technique – Gold Nanoparticles and Quantum Dots for Bioimaging