Magnetic nanoparticles as targeted delivery systems in oncology

Authors: Sara Prijic, Gregor Sersa


Background: Many different types of nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles being just a category among them, of-
fer exciting opportunities for technologies at the interfaces between chemistry, physics and biology. Some magnetic
nanoparticles have already been utilized in clinical practice as contrast enhancing agents for magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI). However, their physicochemical properties are constantly being improved upon also for other biologi-
cal applications, such as magnetically-guided delivery systems for different therapeutics. By exposure of magnetic na-
noparticles with attached therapeutics to an external magnetic field with appropriate characteristics, they are con-
centrated and retained at the preferred site which enables the targeted delivery of therapeutics to the desired spot.
Conclusions:The idea of binding chemotherapeutics to magnetic nanoparticles has been around for 30 years, how-
ever, no magnetic nanoparticles as delivery systems have yet been approved for clinical practice. Recently, binding
of nucleic acids to magnetic nanoparticles has been demonstrated as a successful non-viral transfection method
of different cell lines in vitro. With the optimization of this method called magnetofection, it will hopefully become
another form of gene delivery for the treatment of cancer.