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Tapas Kumar Pal*, Abhishekh Podder


Nanotechnology had found its leading edge in medicine and pharmaceutical sciences through disease detection, controlled drug delivery and targeted drug therapy, in tissue engineering utilising biosensors and so on. The specificity and sensitivity of the nanoparticles are utilised in achieving optimum efficacy for biomedical applications, in cancer therapy, thrombolysis, and molecular imaging due to their nanoscale size, large surface area, in vivo drug delivery characteristics and negligible side effects. With the recent developments in nanotechnology, magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have gained significant attention to the pharmaceutical formulators. MNPs are a class of engineered nanoparticulate material of sizes range  100 nm that can be manipulated under the influence of external magnetic field. MNPs are commonly composed of magnetic elements, such as iron, nickel, cobalt and their oxides like magnetite. There are different methods involved for the preparation of MNPs like co-precipitation, thermal decomposition, microemulsion, sol-gel reaction, flame method etc. The wide spread application of MNPs include contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), drug/gene carriers for different kinds of therapeutic agents, tissue repair, hyperthermia, immunoassay, and cell separation/sensing . MNPs are advantageous due to their biocompatibility, flexibility of surface modification and ability to function at the cellular and molecular level of biochemical interactions. The physicochemical properties of the drug-loaded MNPs, magnetic field strength and geometry, depth of the target tissue, rate of blood flow, and vascular supply at the target tissue guide the effectiveness of MNPs as targeted drug delivery systems. The core-shell structure are the most widely used as sources of magnetic materials, where the core is a magnetic iron oxide (usually Fe3O4 or -Fe2O3) and the shell is a polymer (dextran, PLGA, or PVA) and/or nonpolymer (silica or metals) to which functional groups (amine or carboxylic acid) get attached for bioconjugation to selective anticancer drugs and/or targeted ligands. Magnetoliposomes could be used for magnetic hyperthermia as controlled & targeted drug delivery systems in cancer therapy. The self assembling characteristics of PF127, an amphiphilic polymer, coated on MNPs have been extensively explored in the form of micelles for controlled drug delivery applications. PLGA has been experimented either as a hydrophobic core to entrap hydrophobic iron oxide for MRI contrast agents or as a microsphere for embedding a drug and a MNP for targeted delivery. In this study, an attempt has been made to explore different applications where MNPs have been designed and reported as strategic tools for detection, controlled drug delivery and targeted drug therapy.

Keywords: Controlled drug delivery, Hyperthermia, Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Magnetoliposomes, Targeted drug therapy.

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