Magnetic field-enhanced cellular uptake of doxorubicin-loaded magnetic nanoparticles for tumor treatment

Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 out of every 4 deaths. In recent years, several varieties of nanoparticles (NPs) have been synthesized with the intent of being utilized as tumor drug delivery vehicles. We have produced superparamagnetic, gold-coated magnetite (Fe3O4@Au) NPs and loaded them with the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin (DOX) for magnetic drug targeting of tumors. The synthetic strategy uses the food thickening agent gellan gum (Phytagel) as a negatively charged shell around the Fe3O4@Au NP onto which the positively charged DOX molecules are loaded via electrostatic attraction. The resulting DOX-loaded magnetic nanoparticles (DOX-MNPs) were characterized using transmission electron microscopy (TEM), energy dispersive xray spectroscopy (EDS), superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) magnetometry, surface area electron diffraction (SAED), zeta potential (ZP) measurements, fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) as well as UV/Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy. Cytotoxicity of the DOX-MNPs was demonstrated using the MTT [3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide] assay on C6 glioma cells. Cellular uptake of DOX-MNPs was enhanced with magnetic fields, which was quantitatively determined using flow cytometry. This improved uptake also led to greater tumor cell death, which was measured using MTT assay. These magnetic drug targeting results are promising for a new therapy for cancer.