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It is a challenge to eradicate tumor cells while sparing normal cells. We used magnetoelectric nanoparticles (MENs) to control drug delivery and release. The physics is due to electric-field interactions (i) between MENs and a drug and (ii) between drug-loaded MENs and cells. MENs distinguish cancer cells from normal cells through the membrane’s electric properties; cancer cells have a significantly smaller threshold field to induce electroporation. In vitro and in vivo studies (nude mice with SKOV-3 xenografts) showed that (i) drug (paclitaxel (PTX)) could be attached to MENs (30-nm CoFe2O4@BaTiO3 nanostructures) through surface functionalization to avoid its premature release, (ii) drug-loaded MENs could be delivered into cancer cells via application of a d.c. field (~100 Oe), and (iii) the drug could be released off MENs on demand via application of an a.c. field (~50 Oe, 100 Hz). The cell lysate content was measured with scanning probe microscopy and spectrophotometry. MENs and control ferromagnetic and polymer nanoparticles conjugated with HER2-neu antibodies, all loaded with PTX were weekly administrated intravenously. Only the mice treated with PTX-loaded MENs (15/200 μg) in a field for three months were completely cured, as confirmed through infrared imaging and post-euthanasia histology studies via energy-dispersive spectroscopy and immunohistochemistry.


Originally published in Scientific Reports.

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