Magnetic nanoparticles as MRI contrast enhancement agent

Magnetic nanoparticles in the form of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are increasingly being used as contrast enhancement agent in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Our approach is through micelle-based nanotechnology platform. In this experiment 10 nm iron oxide nanoparticles are loaded within the hydrophobic core of PEG2000-DSPE micelles resulting in average size of 30-50 nm micelles. Tumor-specificity is then achieved via conjugation of antinuclear antibody 2C5 to hydrophilic tail of these micelles. The figure shows uptake of antibody-labeled micelles loaded with magnetic nanoparticles by human breast tumor BT20 cells. Characterization of these micellelar systems for use as contrast agents were carried out using SQUID and NMR. In addition, the group is also working on using these magnetic nanoparticles-loaded micelles for magnetic hyperthermia in cancer therapy to selectively kill tumor cells.