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A Novel Electromagnetic System for  in-situ targeted drug delivery

A test jig using magnetic manipulation and RF heating of nano-particles

Magnetic manipulation and rf heating jig  for magnetic nano-particles in suspension

This work is concentrating on the design and fabrication of a novel magnetic drug delivery system and the associated electromagnetics, sensors and control systems that are required to facilitate its targeted delivery.

Targeted drug delivery systems can eliminate, deleterious whole body dosage, when targeted administering is more appropriate.  For example, in situ tissue engineering aims to harness the body’s own regeneration capacity to heal injury or reverse age-dependent degeneration using growth factors. This can, for example be achieved by delivering proliferation and differentiation promoting factors to stem cell pools in the injured or degenerating areas of the body such as the skeletal system. This is especially important with the increasingly aging population.

We propose to use treated, magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), as delivery vehicles. These will conceal the drug, during delivery, and allow their concerted release at the site of action.  Release is achieved by thermal activation using magnetic fields. Therefore, only a small amount of the therapeutic drug has to be administered, and it will only be active at the desired site.

We are developing the apparatus required to produce a focusable magnetic field in a three dimensional space. This will confine the treatment volume to a specified location and prevent collateral cell damage to healthy adjacent tissues. It will also sense the amount of magnetic nanoparticles, in order to quantify the drug dosage to the treatment volume.  

In order for magnetic nanoparticle based delivery and release to be successful, the particles have to be small (to migrate into tissues outside the circulation) and need to have a high magnetic moment (for efficient magnetic field based heating for factor release). Therefore, we aim to design and produce novel magnetic nanoparticles by controlled thermal decomposition of small molecule precursors. The magnetic nanoparticles delivery system contains the therapeutic drug, and will undergo a sharp phase transition at 40 to 45 ºC releasing the cargo.