Applications Of Iron Composite Nanoparticle In Cancer Therapy Biology Essay


1. Introduction

2. Body of the paper

2.1 Targeted drug or gene delivery.

2.2 Hyperthermia based cancer treatment.

3. Conclusion

4. References

Applications of iron composite nanoparticle in cancer therapy.


Nanotechnology has achieved significant results for achieving targeted gene or drug therapy. Many chemotherapeutic drugs or many treatment methods used for cancer therapy leads to toxic effects on normal cells, to overcome these side effects it leads to an appropriate delivery system. Magnetic delivery system can be powerful tool for targeted therapies, as it can be achieved using iron composite nanoparticles. Magnetic properties can be achieved by iron composite nanoparticles and effectively can target the tumor site, doping drug, peptide, antibodies or gene with these nanoparticles. External magnetic field is sufficient for targeting the particles to particular site increasing the effect on tumor cells in decreasing its toxicity on normal cells. These nanoparticles have ability to produce heat in presence of magnetic field which helps in hyperthermia based cancer treatment using nanoparticles. Many modifications in surface, size and doping strategies can give significant result of targeted therapy. Still studies proving its toxicity effect is an obstacle.


Nanotechnology is an emerging field in cancer treatment and diagnosis due to the serious toxic effects caused by anticancer drugs on normal cells.[1] This nonspecific action of chemotherapeutic drug creates a need for developing targeted therapy with increased tumor-killing and less toxicity on normal cells.[2] Nanoparticles have proven to be an effective delivery system with few side effects for anticancer drugs.[3] Iron as a metal have magnetic properties.

The iron particles basically are called as magnetic nanoparticles. Synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles and methods for their targeting to precise spots in the body would be a great device for in vivo drug / gene delivery with modified attachment of antibodies, proteins or ligands. [4]


Fig 1: Basic structure of magnetic nanoparticle (iron).Linker molecule can be any drug, peptide or gene. Coating material like polyethylene glycol, chitosan, dextran, and starch or any other carbohydrates or substances. Core material is iron for magnetic nanoparticle.

Targeted drug and gene delivery:

Cancer can be credited to one or more defective genes. Gene therapy offers the possibility to directly report the cause of cancer through certain changes in specific genes and, offers a broad range of possible treatment methods for the disease. [5, 6] The most important task in active gene therapy is its delivery. Recent delivery methods have been shown to increase the half-life of gene therapeutics, most notably the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG). [7] PEG is a polymer which, when complexed with nucleic acids, prevents proteins and nucleic acids from being recognized by the host immune system. [7] Studies on targeted gene delivery to cancer tissues has focussed mostly on the combination of the therapeutic gene with antibodies, or ligands.[8] These methods have been limited by challenges in recognizing antigens or receptors that are specific for specific tumors. [8] Chitosan coated magnetic iron particles combined with plasmid DNA expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) were injected into mice and directed to the lungs, heart, and kidney in vivo by means of external magnets. The expression of GFP in these sites was visualized by whole-body fluorescent imaging. [8] The magnetic nanoparticles conjugated with ANP peptide or CEA antibodies to transfect cells in vitro.[9] Different targeted deliveries respected to different organs have been in study and successfully reached clinical trials. More studies proving the specific gene/drug/ligand delivery need to be reported to bring nanoparticle mediated specific delivery into consent. Since, studies shows positive results of targeting certain internal organs like kidney, liver, brain, spinal cord and topical delivery is significant.[2]

Hyperthermia based cancer therapy:

The method includes increasing the temperature of local environment of a tumor resulting in altering the structure of diseased cells finally leading to apoptosis. This treatment modality balances recent available cures including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, gene therapy, and immunotherapy for cancer. Since then the approach developed into a well-researched field due to the introduction of magnetic nanoparticles which are basically iron nanoparticles which can gain magnetic property [10]. Magnetic nanoparticle-based hyperthermia treatment has many advantages. .Magnetic nanoparticle-based hyperthermia treatment has a number of advantages compared to conventional hyperthermia treatment.[10] 1) Tumor cells uptakes these particles and can be used for increasing the effects of temperature, 2) It can also target tumor-specific binding agents making the treatment more specific and effective, 3) The magnetic fields used for targeting can easily pass through the body without effecting and form heat only to specific sites containing these nanoparticles, 4) These magnetic nanoparticles can also pass through blood-brain barrier (BBB) and hence can be used for treating brain tumors.[10] More effectively using iron or magnetic nanoparticle for hyperthermia based therapy is its metallic property of producing heat in presence of magnetic field. Iron itself as element can produce reactive oxygen species which can be used for treating tumor cells.


Developments in synthesizing magnetic nanoparticles with control over certain properties have led to their application in imaging and therapeutic use. Its ability to bypass blood brain barrier is significant advantage. Hyperthermia based therapy using these nanoparticles can achieve significant results in cancer treatment. Dynamic targeting, offers great sensitivity due to the capacity to direct magnetic nanoparticles to specific site, but need to be careful with the targeting agent used, and the method of introduction in body.[4,5] A number of combined strategies including physical methods, bonding strategies, and chemistries have made to its achievement.[6] Still, questions arises about removal and toxicity remains obstacles to medical usage of these type of nanoparticles.[5] Once these problems are solved, magnetic nanoparticles will be in medical use, improving the identification, cure, and imaging of many diseases.