Invitrogen Corp. of Carlsbad, Calif., and Signalomics GmbH of Steinfurt, Germany, have announced their collaboration to develop nanocrystal reagents to enhance tumor identification. The nanobiotechnology-based in vivo diagnostics platform couples designer proteins and fluorescent semiconductor crystals to create photostable nanocrystal-protein conjugates a few millionths of a millimeter in size. Once in a cell, the conjugates target faulty signaling proteins in tumor tissue. The application of laser light at a specific wavelength causes the conjugates to emit light in various colors and allows the detection of single cancerous cells. The technology enables more rapid and complete excision of the tumor and allows scientists to design therapeutics to target the faulty signal transduction. The collaboration’s initial goal is to develop an imaging agent for the identification of colon carcinomas that require surgical intervention.