Review

The application of magnetic nanoparticles in the treatment and monitoring of cancer and infectious diseases

Harry M. Williams

Received:

22 Aug 2016

Accepted:

19 Jul 2017

Published:

8 Aug 2017

Volume:

10

Issue:

1

Keywords:

magnetic nanoparticles, hyperthermia, magnetic resonance imaging, superparamagnetism, cancer, infectious disease

Abstract:

Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have shown promise in a number of biomedical applications, including: magnetic hyperthermia, enhancing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data, supplementing tissue engineering efforts and improving the delivery of drugs to difficult to reach microniches. Their inclusion in the treatment pathways of various pathologies highlights a growing trend towards the integration of novel biotechnologies in healthcare and therapeutic settings. Superparamagnetic nanoparticles (SPNs) allow clinicians to produce a localized thermo-ablative effect leading to the destruction of bacterial biofilms and cancer cells. In addition, through the physical disruption of bacterial membranes, SPNs can sensitize resistant bacterial cells to antibacterial compounds. MNPs have also improved the delivery of bactericidal compounds to restricted microniches, and could, therefore, potentially be used in the treatment of conditions that require therapeutic interventions to cross the blood–brain barrier. Furthermore, MNPs have been investigated as novel MRI contrast agents due to their unique combination of favourable magnetic properties, biodegradability, and surface functionality.

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