Magnetic nanoparticles are gaining great roles in biomedical applications as targeted drug delivery agents or targeted imaging contrast agents. In the magnetic nanoparticle applications, quantification of the nanoparticle density deposited in a specified region is of great importance for evaluating the delivery of the drugs or the contrast agents to the targeted tissues. We introduce a method for estimating the nanoparticle density from the displacement of tissues caused by the external magnetic field.
We can exert magnetic force to the magnetic nanoparticles residing in a living subject by applying magnetic gradient field to them. The nanoparticles under the external magnetic field then exert force to the nearby tissues causing displacement of the tissues. The displacement field induced by the nanoparticles under the external magnetic field is governed by the Navier's equation. We use an approximation method to get the inverse solution of the Navier's equation which represents the magnetic nanoparticle density map when the magnetic nanoparticles are mechanically coupled with the surrounding tissues. To produce the external magnetic field inside a living subject, we propose a coil configuration, the Helmholtz and Maxwell coil pair, that is capable of generating uniform magnetic gradient field. We have estimated the coil currents that can induce measurable displacement in soft tissues through finite element method (FEM) analysis.
From the displacement data obtained from FEM analysis of a soft-tissue-mimicking phantom, we have calculated nanoparticle density maps. We obtained the magnetic nanoparticle density maps by approximating the Navier's equation to the Laplacian of the displacement field. The calculated density maps match well to the original density maps, but with some halo artifacts around the high density area. To induce measurable displacement in the living tissues with the proposed coil configuration, we need to apply the coil currents as big as 104A.
We can obtain magnetic nanoparticle maps from the magnetically induced displacement data by approximating the Navier's equation under the assumption of uniform-gradient of the external magnetic field. However, developing a coil driving system with the capacity of up to 104A should be a great technical challenge.