About the Nanotechnology Characterization Lab (NCL)
NCI founded the Nanotechnology Characterization Lab (NCL) in 2004, in collaboration with the US Food and Drug Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology, as a public–private partnership to advance the science needed to expedite the development of promising nanotech therapies and diagnostics. The NCL’s initial mission was to develop an “Assay Cascade” of scientific tests that would help determine the reproducibility, safety, and efficacy of nanomedicines to facilitate regulatory review. NCL is the only lab with experience testing the wide variety of platforms used in nanomedicine. Since its founding, the NCL has tested more than 500 unique nanomaterials, including almost every type of nanoparticle used in biomedical research and development (e.g., metallic, liposomes, polymers, proteins, micelles, DNA and RNA nanostructures, carbon nanotubes) with nearly every type of active pharmaceutical ingredient (e.g., small molecules, peptides, proteins, nucleic acids, plasmids).
The NCL is located at the Advanced Technology Research Facility in Frederick, Maryland, with over 11,000 square feet of laboratory and office space. The laboratories are outfitted with two tissue culture rooms, an isotope laboratory, a walk-in cold room, several microscopy rooms, a chromatography and electrophoresis area, a spectroscopy area, a formulation/synthetic lab with chemical fume hoods, multiple customizable research bays, and open floor space for freestanding instrumentation and equipment. The NCL also has direct access to all resources at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research , including those co-located with the NCL at the Advanced Technology Research Facility.
NCL's annual publication of metrics on NCL's Assay Cascade application program. The report also highlights new protocols added to the Assay Cascade, standardization efforts, and nanotech formulation projects. Trends in nanoparticle research are also discussed, including most studied nanoparticle platforms, active ingredients, therapeutic uses, cancer indications, and trends in immunological responses.
Find biographies for the Nanotechnology Characterization Lab team. Together, NCL staff help provide a thorough understanding of nanoparticles' physicochemical and biological properties to accelerate their translation to clinical trials.
A list of NCL's most recent publications.
All of NCL's programs (Assay Cascade, cCRADA, Technical Services) are open to researchers from any institution. Non-US organizations are also eligible.