Scientists develop new method to enable drug release inside cancer cells

August 15, 2015

For this study, nanoparticles carrying the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin were introduced to and endocytosed by breast cancer cells. When the cancer cells containing the nanoparticles were then exposed to an oscillating magnetic field, cell death occurred.

"The novel magnetic-core silica nanoparticles are effective in activating nanovalves which release anti-cancer drugs when they are exposed to an oscillating magnetic field," Zink said.

The magnetic-field oscillation causes the zinc-doped iron oxide nanocrystals to heat. This increased heat causes the molecular machines to activate, and the doxorubicin in the pores is delivered into the cells.

"Magnetic nanocrystals are important in biomedical applications because they can be used for both therapeutics and imaging," said Cheon, director of the National Creative Research Initiative Center for Evolutionary Nanoparticles and the H.G. Underwood Professor of Chemistry and division head of the Nano-Medical National Core Research Center at Yonsei University.

"The ability to deliver anti-cancer drugs only to the cancer cells without affecting healthy cells is of key importance," added Cheon who is also a visiting professor at UCLA's CNSI.

Source: University of California - Los Angeles