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Targeted Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Delivery Anti-Cancer Therapeutics


Iron oxide nanoparticle composition for targeted hydrophilic drug delivery.

Key Benefits
  • Compatible with many types of targeting molecules, can be customized to target various tumor cell types.
  • Protects hydrophilic compounds from being metabolized before they reach tumor site; releases drug compound under low pH. 
  • Combination allows for both targeting of anti-cancer therapeutics to tumor cells and concurrent MRI imaging of tumors during and after treatment.
Technical Summary

Although there are many cancer therapies available today, one does not exist for every type of cancer, and for many there are significant drawbacks. A key problem for hydrophilic-type pharmaceutical therapies is that they are readily broken down in the bloodstream before reaching the tumor. To circumvent this physicians currently administer these drugs at very high doses leading to undesirable side-effects. Emory researchers have addressed this problem by using targeted iron oxide nanoparticle (IONP) as a delivery mechanism for these drugs. This technology consists of an iron oxide nanoparticle, coated, and linked to both a molecule targeting it to a specific tumor type and a drug molecule. The drug molecule is linked via a proprietary polypeptide linker which is only cleaved under low pH. This pH dependent release mechanism protects the drug from being broken down in the blood, and allows for release only when the nanoparticle drug complex is inside the tumor cell. Additionally, by using IONPs treatment can be visualized by MRI, and changes in location and size of tumors and tumor cells can be monitored. This unique combination of attributes makes this technology particularly well suited for addressing difficult to treat cancers such as pancreatic cancer.

Developmental Stage

Particular targeting molecule-nanoparticle-drug combinations have been successfully created and tested in mouse pancreatic cancer models.

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Patent Information
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
Nationalized PCT - United States United States 14/005,499 3/30/2011    
Tech ID: 11056
Published: 3/31/2011

Cliff Michaels
Assistant Director
Emory University

Lily Yang
Gee Young Lee
Hui Mao

Drug Delivery
Imaging Agents
Microbiology/Infectious Diseases