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Iron–gold alloy nanoparticles serve as a cornerstone in hyperthermia-mediated controlled drug release for cancer therapy

Authors Li Y, Xu M, Dhawan U, Liu WC, Wu KT, Liu X, Lin CP, Zhao G, Wu YC, Chung RJ

Received 25 January 2018

Accepted for publication 8 May 2018

Published 17 September 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 5499—5509

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S163721

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Alexander Kharlamov

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang


Yun-Qian Li,1,* Meng Xu,2,* Udesh Dhawan,3,4 Wai-Ching Liu,5 Kou-Ting Wu,5 Xin-Rui Liu,1 Chingpo Lin,1 Gang Zhao,1 Yu-Chuan Wu,3,6,7 Ren-Jei Chung5

1Department of Neurosurgical Oncology, First Hospital, Jilin University, Changchun, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Materials Science and Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology (Taipei Tech), Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; 4Institute of Chemistry, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; 5Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, National Taipei University of Technology (Taipei Tech), Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; 6Institute of Materials Science and Engineering, National Taipei University of Technology (Taipei Tech), Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; 7Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Chinese Culture University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Introduction: The efficacy of a chemotherapy drug in cancer therapy is highly determined by the ability to control the rate and extent of its release in vivo. However, the lack of techniques to accurately control drug release drastically limits the potency of a chemotherapy drug.
Materials and methods: Here, we present a novel strategy to precisely monitor drug release under magnetic stimulation. Methotrexate (MTX), an anticancer drug, was covalently functionalized onto iron–gold alloy magnetic nanoparticles (Fe–Au alloy nanoparticles or NFAs) through 2-aminoethanethiol grafting and the ability of this drug–nanoparticle conjugate (NFA–MTX) in limiting HepG2 (liver carcinoma) cell growth was studied. Well-dispersed NFAs were prepared through pyrolysis.
Results and discussion: Transmission electron microscopy revealed the average nanoparticle size to be 7.22±2.6 nm, while X-ray diffraction showed distinct 2θ peaks for iron and gold, confirming the presence of iron and gold nanoparticles. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry revealed that the amount of NFA–MTX conjugate ingested by HepG2 cancer cells was 1.5 times higher than that ingested by L929 fibroblasts, thereby proving a higher selective ingestion by cancer cells compared to normal cells. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy revealed the breakage of Au-S bonds by the heat generated under magnetic field stimulation to release MTX from the NFA–MTX conjugate, triggering a 95% decrease in cellular viability at 100 µg/mL.
Conclusion: The ability of NFA–MTX to dissociate under the influence of an applied magnetic field provides a new strategy to induce cancer cell death via hyperthermia. Applications in drug delivery, drug development, and cancer research are expected.

Keywords: iron–gold nanoparticles, methotrexate, hyperthermia, superparamagnetic, controlled drug release

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