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1.  A biocompatible magnetic film: synthesis and characterization 
Biotechnology applications of magnetic gels include biosensors, targeted drug delivery, artificial muscles and magnetic buckles. These gels are produced by incorporating magnetic materials in the polymer composites.
A biocompatible magnetic gel film has been synthesized using polyvinyl alcohol. The magnetic gel was dried to generate a biocompatible magnetic film. Nanosized iron oxide particles (γ-Fe2O3, ~7 nm) have been used to produce the magnetic gel.
The surface morphology and magnetic properties of the gel films were studied. The iron oxide particles are superparamagnetic and the gel film also showed superparamagnetic behavior.
Magnetic gel made out of crosslinked magnetic nanoparticles in the polymer network was found to be stable and possess the magnetic properties of the nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC373455  PMID: 14761251
2.  Improving the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast and Detection Methods with Engineered Magnetic Nanoparticles 
Theranostics  2012;2(1):86-102.
Engineering and functionalizing magnetic nanoparticles have been an area of the extensive research and development in the biomedical and nanomedicine fields. Because their biocompatibility and toxicity are well investigated and better understood, magnetic nanoparticles, especially iron oxide nanoparticles, are better suited materials as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and for image-directed delivery of therapeutics. Given tunable magnetic properties and various surface chemistries from the coating materials, most applications of engineered magnetic nanoparticles take advantages of their superb MRI contrast enhancing capability as well as surface functionalities. It has been found that MRI contrast enhancement by magnetic nanoparticles is highly dependent on the composition, size and surface properties as well as the degree of aggregation of the nanoparticles. Therefore, understanding the relationships between these intrinsic parameters and the relaxivities that contribute to MRI contrast can lead to establishing essential guidance that may direct the design of engineered magnetic nanoparticles for theranostics applications. On the other hand, new contrast mechanism and imaging strategy can be developed based on the novel properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles. This review will focus on discussing the recent findings on some chemical and physical properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles affecting the relaxivities as well as the impact on MRI contrast. Furthermore, MRI methods for imaging magnetic nanoparticles including several newly developed MRI approaches aiming at improving the detection and quantification of the engineered magnetic nanoparticles are described.
PMCID: PMC3263519  PMID: 22272222
magnetic nanoparticles; engineering; functionalizing; magnetic resonance imaging
3.  Monodisperse Magnetic Nanoparticles for Theranostic Applications 
Accounts of chemical research  2011;44(10):875-882.
The development of highly effective medicine requires the on-time monitoring of the medical treatment process. This combination of monitoring and therapeutics allows a large degree of control on the treatment efficacy and is now commonly referred to as “theranostics”. Magnetic nanoparticles (NPs) provide a unique nano-platform for theranostic applications due to their comparable sizes with various functional biomolecules, their biocompatibility and their responses to the external magnetic field. Recent efforts in studying magnetic NPs for both imaging and therapeutic applications have led to great advances in NP fabrication with controls in dimension, surface functionalization and magnetic property. These magnetic NPs have been proven to be robust agents that can be target-specific for enhancing magnetic resonance imaging sensitivity and magnetic heating efficiency. These, plus the deep tissue penetration of magnetic field, make magnetic NPs the most promising candidates for successful theranostics in the future.
In this Account, we review the recent advances in the synthesis of magnetic NPs of iron oxide, Fe, as well as FePt and FeCo NPs for imaging and therapeutic applications. We will first introduce briefly nanomagnetism, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH). We will then focus on chemical synthesis of monodisperse magnetic NPs with controlled sizes, morphologies, and magnetic properties. Typical examples in using monodisperse magnetic NPs for MRI and MFH are highlighted.
PMCID: PMC3184307  PMID: 21661754
4.  Iron Oxide Nanoparticle-Micelles (ION-Micelles) for Sensitive (Molecular) Magnetic Particle Imaging and Magnetic Resonance Imaging 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57335.
Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONs) are a promising nanoplatform for contrast-enhanced MRI. Recently, magnetic particle imaging (MPI) was introduced as a new imaging modality, which is able to directly visualize magnetic particles and could serve as a more sensitive and quantitative alternative to MRI. However, MPI requires magnetic particles with specific magnetic properties for optimal use. Current commercially available iron oxide formulations perform suboptimal in MPI, which is triggering research into optimized synthesis strategies. Most synthesis procedures aim at size control of iron oxide nanoparticles rather than control over the magnetic properties. In this study, we report on the synthesis, characterization and application of a novel ION platform for sensitive MPI and MRI.
Methods and Results
IONs were synthesized using a thermal-decomposition method and subsequently phase-transferred by encapsulation into lipidic micelles (ION-Micelles). Next, the material and magnetic properties of the ION-Micelles were analyzed. Most notably, vibrating sample magnetometry measurements showed that the effective magnetic core size of the IONs is 16 nm. In addition, magnetic particle spectrometry (MPS) measurements were performed. MPS is essentially zero-dimensional MPI and therefore allows to probe the potential of iron oxide formulations for MPI. ION-Micelles induced up to 200 times higher signal in MPS measurements than commercially available iron oxide formulations (Endorem, Resovist and Sinerem) and thus likely allow for significantly more sensitive MPI. In addition, the potential of the ION-Micelle platform for molecular MPI and MRI was showcased by MPS and MRI measurements of fibrin-binding peptide functionalized ION-Micelles (FibPep-ION-Micelles) bound to blood clots.
The presented data underlines the potential of the ION-Micelle nanoplatform for sensitive (molecular) MPI and warrants further investigation of the FibPep-ION-Micelle platform for in vivo, non-invasive imaging of fibrin in preclinical disease models of thrombus-related pathologies and atherosclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3577714  PMID: 23437371
5.  Magnetic nanoparticle-based hyperthermia for cancer treatment 
Nanotechnology involves the study of nature at a very small scale, searching new properties and applications. The development of this area of knowledge affects greatly both biotechnology and medicine disciplines. The use of materials at the nanoscale, in particular magnetic nanoparticles, is currently a prominent topic in healthcare and life science. Due to their size-tunable physical and chemical properties, magnetic nanoparticles have demonstrated a wide range of applications ranging from medical diagnosis to treatment. Combining a high saturation magnetization with a properly functionalized surface, magnetic nanoparticles are provided with enhanced functionality that allows them to selectively attach to target cells or tissues and play their therapeutic role in them. In particular, iron oxide nanoparticles are being actively investigated to achieve highly efficient carcinogenic cell destruction through magnetic hyperthermia treatments. Hyperthermia in different approaches has been used combined with radiotherapy during the last decades, however, serious harmful secondary effects have been found in healthy tissues to be associated with these treatments. In this framework, nanotechnology provides a novel and original solution with magnetic hyperthermia, which is based on the use of magnetic nanoparticles to remotely induce local heat when a radiofrequency magnetic field is applied, provoking a temperature increase in those tissues and organs where the tumoral cells are present. Therefore, one important factor that determines the efficiency of this technique is the ability of magnetic nanoparticles to be driven and accumulated in the desired area inside the body. With this aim, magnetic nanoparticles must be strategically surface functionalized to selectively target the injured cells and tissues.
PMCID: PMC3863197  PMID: 24416585
Nanotechnology; Hyperthermia; Nanoparticles
6.  Immobilization on a Nanomagnetic Co/C Surface Using ROM Polymerization: Generation of a Hybrid Material as Support for a Recyclable Palladium Catalyst 
Advanced functional materials  2010;20(24):4323-4328.
A novel hybrid material is reported as support for a recyclable palladium catalyst via surface immobilization of a ligand onto Co-based magnetic nanoparticles (NPs). A standard “click” reaction is utilized to covalently attach a norbornene tag (Nb-tag) to the surface of the carbon coated cobalt NPs. The hybrid magnetic nanoparticles are produced by initiating polymerization of a mixture containing both Nb-tagged ligand (Nb-tagged PPh 3) and Nb-tagged carbon coated cobalt NPs. In turn, the norbornene units are suitably functionalized to serve as ligands for metal catalysts. A composite material is thus obtained which furnishes a loading that is one order of magnitude higher than the value obtained previously for the synthesis of functionalized Co/C-nanopowders. This allows for its application as a hybrid support with high local catalyst concentrations, as demonstrated for the immobilization of a highly active and recyclable palladium complex for Suzuki-Miyaura cross-coupling reactions. Due to the explicit magnetic moment of the cobalt- NPs, the overall magnetization of this organic/inorganic framework is significantly higher than of polymer coated iron oxide nanoparticles with comparable metal content, hence, its rapid separation from the reaction mixture and recycling via an external magnetic field is not hampered by the functionalized polymer shell.
PMCID: PMC3271946  PMID: 22308111
7.  Preparation and Characterization of a Magnetic and Optical Dual-Modality Molecular Probe 
Nanotechnology  2010;21(17):175704.
Multi-modality imaging probes combine the advantages of individual imaging techniques to yield highly detailed anatomic and molecular information in living organisms. Herein, we report the synthesis and characterization of a dual-modality nanoprobe that couples the magnetic properties of ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (USPIOs) with the near infrared fluorescence of Cy5.5. The fluorophore is encapsulated in a biocompatible shell of silica surrounding the iron oxide core for a final diameter of ~17 nm. This silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticle (SCION) has been analyzed by transmission electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, and superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID). The particle demonstrates a strong negative surface charge and maintains colloidal stability in the physiological pH range. Magnetic hysteresis analysis confirms superparamagnetic properties that could be manipulated for thermotherapy. The viability of primary human monocytes, T cells, and B cells incubated with particle has been examined in vitro. In vivo analysis of agent leakage into subcutaneous A431 tumors in mice was also conducted. This particle has been designed for diagnostic application with magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging, and has future potential to serve as a heat-sensitive targeted drug delivery platform.
PMCID: PMC2859998  PMID: 20368682
8.  Technogenic Magnetic Particles in Alkaline Dusts from Power and Cement Plants 
Water, Air, and Soil Pollution  2012;224(1):1389.
During this study, we investigated the mineralogical characterization of technogenic magnetic particles (TMPs) contained in alkaline industrial dust and fly ash emitted by coal burning power plants and cement plants. The reaction of tested dust samples varied between values of pH 8 and pH 12. Their magnetic properties were characterized by measurement of magnetic susceptibility (χ), frequency dependence of magnetic susceptibility (χfd), and temperature dependence of magnetic susceptibility. Mineralogical and geochemical analyses included scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy, microprobe analysis and X-ray diffraction. The TMPs in fly ash from hard coal combustion have the form of typical magnetic spherules with a smooth or corrugated surface as well as a skeletal morphology, composed of iron oxides (magnetite, maghemite, and magnesioferrite) that occurred in the form of incrustation on the surface of mullite, amorphous silica, or aluminosilicate particles. The TMPs observed in fly ash from lignite combustion have a similar morphological form but a different mineralogical composition. Instead of magnetite and magnesioferrite, maghemite and hematite with lower χ values were the prevailing magnetic minerals, which explains the much lower magnetic susceptibility of this kind of ash in comparison with the ash from hard coal combustion, and probably results from the lower temperature of lignite combustion. Morphology and mineralogical composition of TMPs in cement dust is more diverse. The magnetic fraction of cement dust occurs mostly in the form of angular and octahedral grains of a significantly finer granulation (<20 μm); however, spherules are also present. A very characteristic magnetic form for cement dust is calcium ferrite (CaFe3O5). The greatest impact on the magnetic susceptibility of cement dust results from iron-bearing additives (often waste materials from other branches of industry), which should be considered the most dangerous to the environment. Stoichiometric analysis of micro-particles confirmed the presence of heavy metals such as Pb, Mn, Cd, and Zn connected with TMPs, which are carriers of magnetic signals in atmospheric dust. Therefore, in some cases, their presence in topsoil when detected by magnetic measurement can be treated as an indicator of inorganic soil contamination.
PMCID: PMC3543769  PMID: 23325986
Alkaline dusts; Magnetic susceptibility; Technogenic magnetic particles; Iron mineralogy
9.  Nanoscale Metal–Organic Frameworks for Biomedical Imaging and Drug Delivery 
Accounts of chemical research  2011;44(10):957-968.
Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), a class of hybrid materials formed by the self-assembly of polydentate bridging ligands and metal-connecting points, have been studied for a variety of applications. Recently, these materials have been scaled down to nanometer sizes, and this Account details the development of nanoscale metal–organic frameworks (NMOFs) for biomedical applications. NMOFs possess several potential advantages over conventional nanomedicines such as their structural and chemical diversity, their high loading capacity, and their intrinsic biodegradability. Under relatively mild conditions, NMOFs can be obtained as either crystalline or amorphous materials. The particle composition, size, and morphology can be easily tuned to optimize the final particle properties. Researchers have employed two general strategies to deliver active agents using NMOFs: by incorporating active agents into the frameworks or by loading active agents into the pores and channels of the NMOFs. The modification of NMOF surfaces with either silica coatings or organic polymers improves NMOF stability, fine-tunes their properties, and imparts additional functionality.
Preliminary biomedical applications of NMOFs have focused on their use as delivery vehicles for imaging contrast agents and molecular therapeutics. Because NMOFs can carry large amounts of paramagnetic metal ions, they have been extensively explored as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents. Both Gd3+- and Mn2+-containing NMOFs have shown excellent efficacy as T1-weighted contrast agents with large per metal- and per particle-based MR relaxivities. Fe3+-containing NMOFs have demonstrated excellent T2-weighted contrast enhancement. Upon intravenous injection of iron carboxylate NMOFs in Wistar rats, researchers observed negative signal enhancement in the liver and spleen, which dissipated over time, indicating the degradation and clearance of the NMOF. Through the incorporation of luminescent or high Z element building blocks, NMOFs have also served as viable contrast agents for optical imaging or X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging. Incorporation of membrane impermeable dyes into NMOFs allowed for their uptake by cancer cells and for their controlled release as the framework decomposed.
NMOFs have been used to deliver anticancer drugs and other chemotherapeutics. Cisplatin prodrugs were incorporated within NMOFs at exceptionally high levels, either through use of the prodrug as the building block or through attachment of the prodrug onto the framework after synthesis. These NMOFs were encapsulated within a silica shell and targeted to cancer cells. In vitro assays revealed that the targeted NMOFs possessed similar efficacy to cisplatin, while the nontargeted NMOFs were less active. Several different therapeutic molecules were loaded within porous iron-carboxylate NMOFs at unprecedented levels. The NMOF showed sustained drug release with no burst effect, and in vitro assays revealed that the nanoencapsulated drug possessed similar efficacy to the free drug. Although still at a very early stage of development, NMOFs have already shown great promise as a novel platform for nanomedicine. The compositional tunability and mild synthetic conditions used to produce NMOFs should allow for the incorporation of other imaging and therapeutic agents and their effective delivery to targeted cells in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3777245  PMID: 21648429
10.  Inorganic Nanoparticles for Multimodal Molecular Imaging 
Molecular imaging  2011;10(1):3-16.
Multimodal molecular imaging can offer a synergistic improvement of diagnostic ability over a single imaging modality. Recent development of hybrid imaging systems has profoundly impacted the pool of available multimodal imaging probes. In particular, much interest has been focused on biocompatible, inorganic nanoparticle–based multimodal probes. Inorganic nanoparticles offer exceptional advantages to the field of multimodal imaging owing to their unique characteristics, such as nanometer dimensions, tunable imaging properties, and multifunctionality. Nanoparticles mainly based on iron oxide, quantum dots, gold, and silica have been applied to various imaging modalities to characterize and image specific biologic processes on a molecular level. A combination of nanoparticles and other materials such as biomolecules, polymers, and radiometals continue to increase functionality for in vivo multimodal imaging and therapeutic agents. In this review, we discuss the unique concepts, characteristics, and applications of the various multimodal imaging probes based on inorganic nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC3629957  PMID: 21303611
11.  Poly-l-lysine-coated magnetic nanoparticles as intracellular actuators for neural guidance 
It has been proposed in the literature that Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) could be exploited to enhance or accelerate nerve regeneration and to provide guidance for regenerating axons. MNPs could create mechanical tension that stimulates the growth and elongation of axons. Particles suitable for this purpose should possess (1) high saturation magnetization, (2) a negligible cytotoxic profile, and (3) a high capacity to magnetize mammalian cells. Unfortunately, the materials currently available on the market do not satisfy these criteria; therefore, this work attempts to overcome these deficiencies.
Magnetite particles were synthesized by an oxidative hydrolysis method and characterized based on their external morphology and size distribution (high-resolution transmission electron microscopy [HR-TEM]) as well as their colloidal (Z potential) and magnetic properties (Superconducting QUantum Interference Devices [SQUID]). Cell viability was assessed via Trypan blue dye exclusion assay, cell doubling time, and MTT cell proliferation assay and reactive oxygen species production. Particle uptake was monitored via Prussian blue staining, intracellular iron content quantification via a ferrozine-based assay, and direct visualization by dual-beam (focused ion beam/scanning electron microscopy [FIB/SEM]) analysis. Experiments were performed on human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell line and primary Schwann cell cultures of the peripheral nervous system.
This paper reports on the synthesis and characterization of polymer-coated magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles with an average diameter of 73 ± 6 nm that are designed as magnetic actuators for neural guidance. The cells were able to incorporate quantities of iron up to 2 pg/cell. The intracellular distribution of MNPs obtained by optical and electronic microscopy showed large structures of MNPs crossing the cell membrane into the cytoplasm, thus rendering them suitable for magnetic manipulation by external magnetic fields. Specifically, migration experiments under external magnetic fields confirmed that these MNPs can effectively actuate the cells, thus inducing measurable migration towards predefined directions more effectively than commercial nanoparticles (fluidMAG-ARA supplied by Chemicell). There were no observable toxic effects from MNPs on cell viability for working concentrations of 10 μg/mL (EC25 of 20.8 μg/mL, compared to 12 μg/mL in fluidMAG-ARA). Cell proliferation assays performed with primary cell cultures of the peripheral nervous system confirmed moderate cytotoxicity (EC25 of 10.35 μg/mL).
These results indicate that loading neural cells with the proposed MNPs is likely to be an effective strategy for promoting non-invasive neural regeneration through cell magnetic actuation.
PMCID: PMC3394465  PMID: 22811603
magnetic nanoparticle; actuator; migration; neural regeneration
12.  Surface Engineering of Core/Shell Iron/Iron Oxide Nanoparticles from Microemulsions for Hyperthermia 
This paper describes the synthesis and surface engineering of core/shell-type iron/iron oxide nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia cancer therapy. Iron/iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized from microemulsions of NaBH4 and FeCl3, followed by surface modification in which a thin hydrophobic hexamethyldisilazane layer - used to protect the iron core - replaced the CTAB coating on the particles. Phosphatidylcholine was then assembled on the nanoparticle surface. The resulting nanocomposite particles have a biocompatible surface and show good stability in both air and aqueous solution. Compared to iron oxide nanoparticles, the nanocomposites show much better heating in an alternating magnetic field. They are good candidates for both hyperthermia and magnetic resonance imaging applications.
PMCID: PMC3151654  PMID: 21833157
13.  Preparation and Characterization of Ferrofluid Stabilized with Biocompatible Chitosan and Dextran Sulfate Hybrid Biopolymer as a Potential Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) T2 Contrast Agent 
Marine Drugs  2012;10(11):2403-2414.
Chitosan is the deacetylated form of chitin and used in numerous applications. Because it is a good dispersant for metal and/or oxide nanoparticle synthesis, chitosan and its derivatives have been utilized as coating agents for magnetic nanoparticles synthesis, including superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs). Herein, we demonstrate the water-soluble SPIONs encapsulated with a hybrid polymer composed of polyelectrolyte complexes (PECs) from chitosan, the positively charged polymer, and dextran sulfate, the negatively charged polymer. The as-prepared hybrid ferrofluid, in which iron chloride salts (Fe3+ and Fe2+) were directly coprecipitated inside the hybrid polymeric matrices, was physic-chemically characterized. Its features include the z-average diameter of 114.3 nm, polydispersity index of 0.174, zeta potential of −41.5 mV and iron concentration of 8.44 mg Fe/mL. Moreover, based on the polymer chain persistence lengths, the anionic surface of the nanoparticles as well as the high R2/R1 ratio of 13.5, we depict the morphology of SPIONs as a cluster because chitosan chains are chemisorbed onto the anionic magnetite surfaces by tangling of the dextran sulfate. Finally, the cellular uptake and biocompatibility assays indicate that the hybrid polymer encapsulating the SPIONs exhibited great potential as a magnetic resonance imaging T2 contrast agent for cell tracking.
PMCID: PMC3509525  PMID: 23203267
biocompatible polymer; chitosan; superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle; nanomaterials
14.  Magnetic and optical properties of multifunctional core-shell radioluminescence nanoparticles 
Journal of materials chemistry  2012;22(25):12802-12809.
When X-rays irradiate radioluminescence nanoparticles, they generate visible and near infrared light that can penetrate through centimeters of tissue. X-ray luminescence tomography (XLT) maps the location of these radioluminescent contrast agents at high resolution by scanning a narrow X-ray beam through the tissue sample and collecting the luminescence at every position. Adding magnetic functionality to these radioluminescent particles would enable them to be guided, oriented, and heated using external magnetic fields, while their location and spectrum could be imaged with XLT and complementary magnetic resonance imaging. In this work, multifunctional monodispersed magnetic radioluminescent nanoparticles were developed as potential drug delivery carriers and radioluminescence imaging agents. The particles consisted of a spindle-shaped magnetic γ-Fe2O3 core and a radioluminescent europium-doped gadolinium oxide shell. Particles with solid iron oxide cores displayed saturation magnetizations consistent with their ~13% core volume, however, the iron oxide quenched their luminescence. In order to increase the luminescence, we partially etched the iron oxide core in oxalic acid while preserving the radioluminescent shell. The core size was controlled by the etching time which in turn affected the particles’ luminescence and magnetic properties. Particles with intermediate core sizes displayed both strong magnetophoresis and luminescence properties. They also served as MRI contrast agents with relaxivities of up to 58 mM−1s−1 (r2) and 120 mM−1s−1 (r2*). These particles offer promising multimodal MRI/fluorescence/X-ray luminescence contrast agents. Our core-shell synthesis technique offers a flexible method to control particle size, shape, and composition for a wide range of biological applications of magnetic/luminescent nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC3918467  PMID: 24520183
15.  Magnetic biocatalysts and their uses to obtain biodiesel and biosurfactants 
Nanobiocatalysis, as the synergistic combination of nanotechnology and biocatalysis, is rapidly emerging as a new frontier of biotechnology. The use of immobilized enzymes in industrial applications often presents advantages over their soluble counterparts, mainly in view of stability, reusability and simpler operational processing. Because of their singular properties, such as biocompatibility, large and modifiable surface and easy recovery, iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are attractive super-paramagnetic materials that serve as a support for enzyme immobilization and facilitate separations by applying an external magnetic field. Cross-linked enzyme aggregates (CLEAs) have several benefits in the context of industrial applications since they can be cheaply and easily prepared from unpurified enzyme extracts and show improved storage and operational stability against denaturation by heat and organic solvents. In this work, by using the aforementioned advantages of MNPs of magnetite and CLEAs, we prepared two robust magnetically-separable types of nanobiocatalysts by binding either soluble enzyme onto the surface of MNPs functionalized with amino groups or by cross-linking aggregates of enzyme among them and to MNPs to obtain magnetic CLEAs. For this purpose the lipase B of Candida antarctica (CALB) was used. The hydrolytic and biosynthetic activities of the resulting magnetic nanobiocatalysts were assessed in aqueous and organic media. Thus, the hydrolysis of triglycerides and the transesterification reactions to synthesize biodiesel and biosurfactants were studied using magnetic CLEAs of CALB. The efficiency and easy performance of this magnetic biocatalysis validates this proof of concept and sets the basis for the application of magnetic CLEAs at industrial scale.
PMCID: PMC4144358  PMID: 25207271
magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs); magnetic cross-linked enzyme aggregates (mCLEAs); biodiesel; biosurfactants; sucrose monopalmitate
16.  Preparation, Characterization, and Application of Magnetic Fe-SBA-15 Mesoporous Silica Molecular Sieves 
Magnetic Fe-SBA-15 mesoporous silica molecular sieves were prepared, characterized, and used for magnetic separation. Wet impregnation, drying, and calcination steps led to iron inclusion within the mesopores. Iron oxide was reduced to the metal form with hydrogen, and the magnetic Fe-SBA-15 was obtained. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy confirmed the preparation process from the oxide to metal forms. The structure of magnetic materials was confirmed by Mössbauer spectra. Powder X-ray diffraction data indicated that the structure of Fe-SBA-15 retained the host SBA-15 structure. Brunauer-Emmett-Teller analysis revealed a decrease in surface area and pore size, indicating Fe-SBA-15 coating on the inner surfaces. Scanning electron micrographs confirmed the decrease in size for modified SBA-15 particles. From scanning electron micrographs, it was found that the size of the modified SBA-15 particles decreased. Transmission electron micrographs also confirmed that modified SBA-15 retained the structure of the parent SBA-15 silica. Fe-SBA-15 exhibited strong magnetic properties, with a magnetization value of 8.8 emu g−1. The iron content in Fe-SBA-15 was determined by atom adsorption spectroscopy. Fe-SBA-15 was successfully used for the magnetic separation of three aromatic compounds in water. Our results suggest wide applicability of Fe-SBA-15 magnetic materials for the rapid and efficient separation of various compounds.
PMCID: PMC2997508  PMID: 21151665
17.  Immobilization of carboxypeptidase from Sulfolobus solfataricus on magnetic nanoparticles improves enzyme stability and functionality in organic media 
BMC Biotechnology  2014;14:82.
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNP) offer several advantages for applications in biomedical and biotechnological research. In particular, MNP-based immobilization of enzymes allows high surface-to-volume ratio, good dispersibility, easy separation of enzymes from the reaction mixture, and reuse by applying an external magnetic field. In a biotechnological perspective, extremophilic enzymes hold great promise as they often can be used under non-conventional harsh conditions, which may result in substrate transformations that are not achievable with normal enzymes. This prompted us to investigate the effect of MNP bioconjugation on the catalytic properties of a thermostable carboxypeptidase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus (CPSso), which exhibits catalytic properties that are useful in synthetic processes.
CPSso was immobilized onto silica-coated iron oxide nanoparticles via NiNTA-His tag site-directed conjugation. Following the immobilization, CPSso acquired distinctly higher long-term stability at room temperature compared to the free native enzyme, which, in contrast, underwent extensive inactivation after 72 h incubation, thus suggesting a potential utilization of this enzyme under low energy consumption. Moreover, CPSso conjugation also resulted in a significantly higher stability in organic solvents at 40°C, which made it possible to synthesize N-blocked amino acids in remarkably higher yields compared to those of free enzyme.
The nanobioconjugate of CPSso immobilized on silica-coated magnetic nanoparticles exhibited enhanced stability in aqueous media at room temperature as well as in different organic solvents. The improved stability in ethanol paves the way to possible applications of immobilized CPSso, in particular as a biocatalyst for the synthesis of N-blocked amino acids. Another potential application might be amino acid racemate resolution, a critical and expensive step in chemical synthesis.
PMCID: PMC4177664  PMID: 25193105
Carboxypeptidase; Magnetic nanoparticles; His-tag immobilization; Enzyme stability; Hyperthermophilic microorganisms
18.  Intrinsically radiolabelled [59Fe]-SPIONs for dual MRI/radionuclide detection 
Towards the development of iron oxide nanoparticles with intrinsically incorporated radionuclides for dual Positron Emission Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PET/MRI) and more recently of Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (SPECT/MRI), we have developed intrinsically radiolabeled [59Fe]-superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles ([59Fe]-SPIONs) as a proof of concept for an intrinsic dual probe strategy. 59Fe was incorporated into Fe3O4 nanoparticle crystal lattice with 92±3% efficiency in thermal decomposition synthesis. Multidentate poly(acrylic acid)-dopamine-poly(ethylene-glycol-2000) (PAA-DOP-PEG) ligands were designed and synthesized based on facile EDC chemistry and utilized to functionalize the [59Fe]-SPIONs. The transverse relaxivity of [59Fe]-SPIONs (97±3 s-1mM-1) was characterized and found to be similar to non-radioactive SPIONs (72±10 s-1mM-1), indicating that 59Fe incorporation does not alter the SPIONs’ MRI contrast properties. [59Fe]-SPIONs were used to evaluate the nanoparticle biodistribution by ex vivo gamma counting and MRI. Nude mice (n=15) were injected with [59Fe]-SPIONs and imaged at various time points with 7T small animal MRI scanner. Ex vivo biodistribution was evaluated by tissue-based gamma counting. MRI signal contrast qualitatively correlates with the %ID/g of [59Fe]-SPIONs, with high contrast in liver (45±6%), medium contrast in kidneys (21±5%), and low contrast in brain (4±6%) at 24 hours. This work demonstrates the synthesis and in vivo application of intrinsically radiolabeled [59Fe]-SPIONs for bimodal detection and provides a proof of concept for incorporation of both gamma- and positron-emitting inorganic radionuclides into the core of metal based MRI contrast agent nanoparticles.
PMCID: PMC4171841  PMID: 25250204
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; intrinsic radiolabeling; biodistribution; PET/MRI; SPECT/MRI; molecular imaging; bimodal detection
19.  Preparation and in vitro evaluation of doxorubicin-loaded Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles modified with biocompatible copolymers 
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are attractive materials that have been widely used in medicine for drug delivery, diagnostic imaging, and therapeutic applications. In our study, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and the anticancer drug, doxorubicin hydrochloride, were encapsulated into poly (D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) poly (ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PEG) nanoparticles for local treatment. The magnetic properties conferred by superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles could help to maintain the nanoparticles in the joint with an external magnet.
A series of PLGA:PEG triblock copolymers were synthesized by ring-opening polymerization of D, L-lactide and glycolide with different molecular weights of polyethylene glycol (PEG2000, PEG3000, and PEG4000) as an initiator. The bulk properties of these copolymers were characterized using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and differential scanning calorimetry. In addition, the resulting particles were characterized by x-ray powder diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and vibrating sample magnetometry.
The doxorubicin encapsulation amount was reduced for PLGA:PEG2000 and PLGA:PEG3000 triblock copolymers, but increased to a great extent for PLGA:PEG4000 triblock copolymer. This is due to the increased water uptake capacity of the blended triblock copolymer, which encapsulated more doxorubicin molecules into a swollen copolymer matrix. The drug encapsulation efficiency achieved for Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles modified with PLGA:PEG2000, PLGA:PEG3000, and PLGA:PEG4000 copolymers was 69.5%, 73%, and 78%, respectively, and the release kinetics were controlled. The in vitro cytotoxicity test showed that the Fe3O4-PLGA:PEG4000 magnetic nanoparticles had no cytotoxicity and were biocompatible.
There is potential for use of these nanoparticles for biomedical application. Future work includes in vivo investigation of the targeting capability and effectiveness of these nanoparticles in the treatment of lung cancer.
PMCID: PMC3273983  PMID: 22334781
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; triblock copolymer; doxorubicin encapsulation; water uptake; drug encapsulation efficiency
20.  Development of Novel Magnetic Nanoparticles for Hyperthermia Cancer Therapy 
Proceedings of SPIE  2011;7901:790115-.
Advances in magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia are opening new doors in cancer therapy. As a standalone or adjuvant therapy this new modality has the opportunity significantly advance thermal medicine. Major advantages of using magnetic magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles are their highly localized power deposition and the fact that the alternating magnetic fields (AMF) used to excite them can penetrate deeply into the body without harmful effect. One limitation, however, which hinders the technology, is the problem of inductive heating of normal tissue by the AMF if the frequency and fields strength are not appropriately matched to the tissue. Restricting AMF amplitude and frequency limits the heat dose which can be selectively applied to cancerous tissue via the magnetic nanoparticle, thus lowering therapeutic effect. In an effort to address this problem, particles with optimized magnetic properties must be developed. Using particles with higher saturation magnetizations and coercivity will enhance hysteresis heating increasing particle power density at milder AMF strengths and frequencies. In this study we used oil in water microemulsions to develop nanoparticles with zero-valent Fe cores and magnetite shells. The superior magnetic properties of zero-valent Fe give these particles the potential for improved SAR over pure magnetite particles. Silane and subsequently dextran have been attached to the particle surface in order to provide a biocompatible surfactant coating. The heating capability of the particles was tested in-vivo using a mouse tumor model. Although we determined that the final stage of synthesis, purification of the dextran coated particles, permits significant corrosion/oxidation of the iron core to hematite, the particles can effectively heat tumor tissue. Improving the purification procedure will allow the generation Fe/Fe3O4 with superior SAR values.
PMCID: PMC3947375  PMID: 24619487
Magnetic Nanoparticle; Ferrofluid; Hyperthermia; Tumor; Cancer; Synthesis
21.  Surface engineering of iron oxide nanoparticles for targeted cancer therapy 
Accounts of chemical research  2011;44(10):853-862.
Nanotechnology provides a flexible platform for the development of effective therapeutic nanomaterials that can interact specifically with a target in a biological system and provoke a desired biological response. Of the nanomaterials studied, iron oxide nanoparticles have emerged as one of top candidates for cancer therapy due to their intrinsic superparamagnetism that enables no-invasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and biodegradability favorable for in vivo application. A therapeutic superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (SPION) typically consists of three primary components: an iron oxide nanoparticle core that serves as both a carrier for therapeutics and contrast agent for MRI, a coating on the iron oxide nanoparticle that promotes favorable interactions between the SPION and biological system, and a therapeutic payload that performs designated function in vivo. Often, a targeting ligand is also included in the design that recognizes the receptors over-expressed on cancer cells. The body is a highly complex system that imposes multiple physiological and cellular barriers to foreign objects. Thus, the success of a therapeutic SPION largely relies on the proper design of the iron oxide core to ensure MRI detectability and more critically, the coating to render the ability to bypass these barriers.
Strategies to bypass the physiological barriers such as liver, kidneys, and spleen, involve tuning the overall size and surface chemistry of the SPION to maximize blood half-life and facilitate the navigation in the body. Strategies to bypass cellular barriers include the use of targeting agents to maximize uptake of the SPION by cancer cells, and employing materials that promote desired intracellular trafficking and enable controlled drug release.
The payload can be genes, proteins, chemotherapy drugs, or a combination of them. Each therapeutic requires a specific coating design to maximize the loading and achieve effective delivery and release. In this Account, we discuss the primary design parameters in developing therapeutic SPIONs with a focus on surface coating design to overcome the barriers imposed by the body’s defense system and provide examples of how these design parameters have been implemented to produce therapeutic SPIONs for specific therapeutic applications.
Although there are still challenges to be addressed, SPIONs show great promise in successful diagnosis and treatment of the most devastating cancers. Once critical design parameters have been optimized, these nanoparticles, combined with imaging modalities, can serve as a truly multi-functional theranostic agent that not only performs a therapeutic function, but provides instant treatment feedback for the physician to adjust the treatment plan.
PMCID: PMC3192288  PMID: 21528865
22.  One-step shell polymerization of inorganic nanoparticles and their applications in SERS/nonlinear optical imaging, drug delivery, and catalysis 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:5593.
Surface functionalized nanoparticles have found their applications in several fields including biophotonics, nanobiomedicine, biosensing, drug delivery, and catalysis. Quite often, the nanoparticle surfaces must be post-coated with organic or inorganic layers during the synthesis before use. This work reports a generally one-pot synthesis method for the preparation of various inorganic-organic core-shell nanostructures (Au@polymer, Ag@polymer, Cu@polymer, Fe3O4@polymer, and TiO2@polymer), which led to new optical, magnetic, and catalytic applications. This green synthesis involved reacting inorganic precursors and poly(styrene-alt-maleic acid). The polystyrene blocks separated from the external aqueous environment acting as a hydrophobic depot for aromatic drugs and thus illustrated the integration of functional nanoobjects for drug delivery. Among these nanocomposites, the Au@polymer nanoparticles with good biocompatibility exhibited shell-dependent signal enhancement in the surface plasmon resonance shift, nonlinear fluorescence, and surface-enhanced Raman scattering properties. These unique optical properties were used for dual-modality imaging on the delivery of the aromatic photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy to HeLa cells.
PMCID: PMC4083277  PMID: 24998932
23.  Surface Characterization of Nanoparticles: critical needs and significant challenges 
There is a growing recognition that nanoparticles and other nanostructured materials are sometimes inadequately characterized and that this may limit or even invalidate some of the conclusions regarding particle properties and behavior. A number of international organizations are working to establish the essential measurement requirements that enable adequate understanding of nanoparticle properties for both technological applications and for environmental health issues. Our research on the interaction of iron metal-core oxide-shell nanoparticles with environmental contaminants and studies of the behaviors of ceria nanoparticles, with a variety of medical, catalysis and energy applications, have highlighted a number of common nanoparticle characterization challenges that have not been fully recognized by parts of the research community. This short review outlines some of these characterization challenges based on our research observations and using other results reported in the literature. Issues highlighted include: 1) the importance of surfaces and surface characterization, 2) nanoparticles are often not created equal – subtle differences in synthesis and processing can have large impacts; 3) nanoparticles frequently change with time having lifetime implications for products and complicating understanding of health and safety impacts; 4) the high sensitivity of nanoparticles to their environment complicates characterization and applications in many ways; 5) nanoparticles are highly unstable and easily altered (damaged) during analysis.
PMCID: PMC4204652  PMID: 25342927
24.  Hybrid gold-iron oxide nanoparticles as a multifunctional platform for biomedical application 
Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) have increasing applications in biomedicine, however fears over long term stability of polymer coated particles have arisen. Gold coating IONPs results in particles of increased stability and robustness. The unique properties of both the iron oxide (magnetic) and gold (surface plasmon resonance) result in a multimodal platform for use as MRI contrast agents and as a nano-heater.
Here we synthesize IONPs of core diameter 30 nm and gold coat using the seeding method with a poly(ethylenimine) intermediate layer. The final particles were coated in poly(ethylene glycol) to ensure biocompatibility and increase retention times in vivo. The particle coating was monitored using FTIR, PCS, UV–vis absorption, TEM, and EDX. The particles appeared to have little cytotoxic effect when incubated with A375M cells. The resultant hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) possessed a maximal absorbance at 600 nm. After laser irradiation in agar phantom a ΔT of 32°C was achieved after only 90 s exposure (50 μgmL-1). The HNPs appeared to decrease T2 values in line with previously clinically used MRI contrast agent Feridex®.
The data highlights the potential of these HNPs as dual function MRI contrast agents and nano-heaters for therapies such as cellular hyperthermia or thermo-responsive drug delivery.
PMCID: PMC3448509  PMID: 22731703
Magnetic nanoparticles; Gold nano-shells; Magnetic resonance imaging; Surface plasmon resonance; Multifunctional nanoparticles
25.  Surface Functionalization of Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for MRI Applications – Effect of Anchoring Group and Ligand Exchange Protocol 
Hydrophobic magnetite nanoparticles synthesized from thermal decomposition of iron salts must be rendered hydrophilic for their application as MRI contrast agents. This process requires refunctionalizing the surface of the nanoparticles with a hydrophilic organic coating such as polyethylene glycol. Two parameters were found to influence the magnetic behavior and relaxivity of the resulting hydrophilic iron oxide nanoparticles: the functionality of the anchoring group and the protocol followed for the functionalization. Nanoparticles coated with PEGs via a catecholate-type anchoring moiety maintain the saturation magnetization and relaxivity of the hydrophobic magnetite precursor. Other anchoring functionalities, such as phosphonate, carboxylate, and dopamine decrease the magnetization and relaxivity of the contrast agent. The protocol for functionalizing the nanoparticles also influences the magnetic behavior of the material. Nanoparticles refunctionalized according to a direct biphasic protocol exhibit higher relaxivity than those refunctionalized according to a two-step procedure which first involves stripping the nanoparticles. This research presents the first systematic study of both the binding moiety and the functionalization protocol on the relaxivity and magnetization of water-soluble coated iron oxide nanoparticles used as MRI contrast agents.
PMCID: PMC3123420  PMID: 21861279
MRI; contrast agent; MION; iron oxide nanoparticles; superparamagnetic agents; surface functionalization; relaxivity; magnetism

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