Highly magnetic nanoparticles as MRI contrast agents and drug delivery tools.
- Enhanced magnetization through use of elemental iron rather than iron oxide.
- Ability to functionalize nanoparticles with antibodies, proteins, and therapeutics.
- Suitable for research tool use, imaging purposes, and localized hyperthermia therapy for cancer treatment.
Magnetic nanoparticles have been explored for potential use in biomedical applications such as drug delivery, cancer detection, and chemotherapy. The currently used magnetic nanoparticle technology relies on the use of iron particles. The oxidation of elemental iron results in a weakly magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle that limits the use of this technology. This technology describes the novel synthesis and use of coated elemental iron magnetic nanoparticles. The resulting particles have magnetic properties that are orders of magnitude greater than the currently used particles.
Studies performed by the inventors have proven that precise magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of any area of the body where the nanoparticles are delivered may be accomplished using this improved technology. The potential uses of this technology include functionalizing the particles with cancer-cell specific proteins to allow for cancer cell detection and targeted therapy to be imaged with MRI. The magnetic properties of these nanoparticles also allow for localized hyperthermia treatment of cancer cells. Binding the particles to viral constructs would be useful for MRI visualization during viral delivery in gene therapy applications. In addition, direct delivery of the functionalized particles to specific areas of the body, including the brain, can be accomplished.
- The coated nanoparticles have been synthesized and used in pre-clinical studies.