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Rofo. 2013 Dec;185(12):1149-66. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1335438. Epub 2013 Sep 5.

Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in biomedicine: applications and developments in diagnostics and therapy.


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) can be used to image physiological processes and anatomical, cellular and molecular changes in diseases. The clinical applications range from the imaging of tumors and metastases in the liver, spleen and bone marrow, the imaging of lymph nodes and the CNS, MRA and perfusion imaging to atherosclerotic plaque and thrombosis imaging. New experimental approaches in molecular imaging describe undirected SPIO trapping (passive targeting) in inflammation, tumors and associated macrophages as well as the directed accumulation of SPIO ligands (active targeting) in tumor endothelia and tumor cells, areas of apoptosis, infarction, inflammation and degeneration in cardiovascular and neurological diseases, in atherosclerotic plaques or thrombi. The labeling of stem or immune cells allows the visualization of cell therapies or transplant rejections. The coupling of SPIO to ligands, radio- and/or chemotherapeutics, embedding in carrier systems or activatable smart sensor probes and their externally controlled focusing (physical targeting) enable molecular tumor therapies or the imaging of metabolic and enzymatic processes. Monodisperse SPIO with defined physicochemical and pharmacodynamic properties may improve SPIO-based MRI in the future and as targeted probes in diagnostic magnetic resonance (DMR) using chip-based µNMR may significantly expand the spectrum of in vitro analysis methods for biomarker, pathogens and tumor cells. Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) as a new imaging modality offers new applications for SPIO in cardiovascular, oncological, cellular and molecular diagnostics and therapy.

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