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Nano Rev. 2010;1. doi: 10.3402/nano.v1i0.4883. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Iron oxide-based nanomagnets in nanomedicine: fabrication and applications.

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  • 1Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK.


Iron oxide-based nanomagnets have attracted a great deal of attention in nanomedicine over the past decade. Down to the nanoscale, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles can only be magnetized in the presence of an external magnetic field, which makes them capable of forming stable colloids in a physio-biological medium. Their superparamagnetic property, together with other intrinsic properties, such as low cytotoxicity, colloidal stability, and bioactive molecule conjugation capability, makes such nanomagnets ideal in both in-vitro and in-vivo biomedical applications. In this review, a chemical, physical, and biological synthetic approach to prepare iron oxide-based nanomagnets with different physicochemical properties was illustrated and compared. The growing interest in iron oxide-based nanomagnets with multifunctionalities was explored in cancer diagnostics and treatment, focusing on their combined roles in a magnetic resonance contrast agent, hyperthermia, and magnetic force assisted drug delivery. Iron oxides as magnetic carriers in gene therapy were reviewed with a focus on the sophisticated design and construction of magnetic vectors. Finally, the iron oxide-based nanomagnet also represents a very promising tool in particle/cell interfacing in controlling cellular functionalities, such as adhesion, proliferation, differentiation, and cell patterning, in stem cell therapy and tissue engineering applications.


cancer targeting; cell actuation; coprecipitation; gene delivery; iron oxide; lithography; magnetosome; microemulsion; stem cell; thermal decomposition; tissue engineering

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