Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are structures released by neutrophils containing DNA bound to granular cytoplasmic proteins, which form smooth filaments of staked nucleosomes (NS). NETs are formed in response to various stimuli, including pathogens, activated platelets, and anti-neutrophil monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). They have been shown to be responsible for tumor metastasis and tumor cells evading the immune system. Similarly, NETs were detected in the lungs of COVID-19 patients, and are likely responsible for SARS-CoV-2 evasion from the immune system. SARS-CoV-2-associated NETs have been further recognized to cause uncontrolled inflammation and multiple organ failure. The widespread role of NETs in the pathogenesis of various diseases opens up their potential for use as a diagnostic and as therapeutic targets. 

Technology Overview

Researchers at Northeastern University have developed methods to visualize NETs and to specifically target areas of NET accumulation using 2C5 antibody and a nanocarrier functionalized with 2C5 antibody. They generated NETs by in vitro techniques and assessed the monoclonal specificity against the generated NETs by immunoassays. Their experiments revealed that mAb 2C5 acts with high specificity, even in the case of NET compaction and resistance to DNase. The 2C5 antibody and nanocarrier system can be modified with appropriate labels and used for diagnostic purposes. It can also be used for the NET-targeted delivery of a wide range of pharmaceutical agents to treat various pathologies, including cancer, inflammatory, and cardiovascular disease. The research team is also developing data to show that it can target SRAS-CoV-2-associated NETs and reduce the severity of the disease.


  • High specificity
  • Potential to treat a range of diseases and infections
  • Duel use as a diagnostic and method of treatment


  • Targeted drug delivery 
  • Disease diagnosis 


  • License
  • Partnering
  • Research collaboration
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Mark Saulich
Associate Director of Commercialization
Northeastern University
Vladimir Torchilin
Leonid Iakoubov
Nina Filipczak
Livia Palmerston Mendes