Multifunctional Magnetic Nanosystems for Tumor Imaging, Targeted Delivery, and Thermal Medicine
Cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in most regions of the world, including the United States (Beardsley 1994). According to the American Cancer Society (ACS 2007), 1.5 million new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in the year 2007 with approximately 560,000 projected deaths. The current treatment options are not sufficient to deal with this influx. Therefore, there is a need for a paradigm shift in the approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. One approach that has shown significant promise is the field of nanotechnology (Brigger et al. 2002; Davis 1997).
Nanotechnology is the science of materials, in the size range of approximately 1–100 nm in diameter, that have unique physical, chemical, and biological properties. A variety of biological and medical processes occur in the nanometer length scales and nanotechnology offers a unique approach to probe and control these processes (Sridhar et al. 2005).
Nanoparticles can be made from organic molecules, such as biodegradable and nondegradable polymers as in polymeric nanoparticles and phospholipids as in liposomes. They can also be synthesized from inorganic materials such as metals and alloys as well as semiconductors, as in iron oxide, gold, and silver nanoparticles and quantum dots, respectively. One property that is common to all of the nanoparticles, irrespective of their chemical composition, is their ability to form multifunctional nanosystems that can be used for diagnosis, imaging, and therapeutic applications. These multifunctional nanoparticle-based approaches are, therefore, expected to make significant impacts in the field of cancer nanomedicine.
This chapter will discuss magnetic nanoparticle-based systems that have been used to improve diagnostics through better tumor imaging, for enhanced drug delivery, and in magnetothermal therapy.
KeywordsMagnetic Nanoparticles Atomic Transfer Radical Polymerization Atomic Transfer Radical Polymerization Reverse Micelle Iron Oxide Nanoparticles
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