Nanomaterials have extensive applications in the life sciences and in clinical diagnosis. We have developed magnetic nanoparticles with high dispersibility and extremely low nonspecific binding to biomolecules and have demonstrated their application in chemical biology (e.g., for the screening of drug receptor proteins). Recently, the excellent properties of nanobeads have made possible the development of novel rapid immunoassay systems and high-precision technologies for exosome detection. For immunoassays, we developed a technology to encapsulate a fluorescent substance in magnetic nanobeads. The fluorescent nanobeads allow the rapid detection of a specific antigen in solution or in tissue specimens. Exosomes, which are released into the blood, are expected to become markers for several diseases, including cancer, but techniques for measuring the absolute quantity of exosomes in biological fluids are lacking. By integrating magnetic nanobead technology with an optical disc system, we developed a novel method for precisely quantifying exosomes in human serum with high sensitivity and high linearity without requiring enrichment procedures. This review focuses on the properties of our magnetic nanobeads, the development of novel biosensors using these nanobeads, and their broad practical applications. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].
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