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Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (MION) as a Drug Carrier

Despite advancement in treatment of various cancers, clinically available treatments are beleaguered with numerous risks and barriers.  Ideally, complete excision of cancer cells is the best form of treatment.  To do so, however, is often difficult due to an inoperable tumor location.  Even when it is possible, tumor excision is invasive, presenting a whole variety of surgically related risks and side effects. In order to minimize the invasiveness of surgery and fight tumors at inoperable locations, chemotherapies have been developed as treatments.  While chemotherapies do have some success at fighting cancers, they are non-selective for malignant tissues (i.e. they also attack healthy tissues) and require high, toxic doses for modest therapeutic effect.  

Chemotherapy drug targeting systems offer a solution to the shortfalls surgical excision and traditional chemotherapies present. Chemotherapy drug targeting is the selective, efficient delivery of chemotherapy drug to a tumor. In other words, drug is delivered to tumor cells without accumulation in healthy tissues and in a manner that does not require the high doses needed with passive biodistribution.  A variety of targeting systems have been studied, in which chemotherapy drugs are linked to a carrier that aids in targeting.  One area is the utilization of magnetic nanoparticles, often referred to as ''magnetic targeting''. Magnetic nanoparticles are used as carriers to accumulate drug at a tumor site under an externally applied local magnetic field. 

Lab Members Currently Working on this Area:  Beata Chertok, Faquan Yu, Adam Cole, Lei Zheng