Improving Chemotherapy Drug Delivery using Magnetoelectric Nanoparticles

March 26, 2021

 Caio Davison
Department of Physics
Nano Literature Seminar
Virginia Commonwealth University

Friday, March 26 at 4:00 pm via Zoom


Finding effective cancer treatments is challenging because cancer cells are so similar to the rest of the  cells in a body. Most chemical treatment methods rely on the biological markers of cancer and require an extensive search for uniquely expressed signals to minimize harm to healthy cells. Nanotechnology  has provided novel, interdisciplinary pathways to target tumor cells using physical characteristics instead, such as enhanced permeability and retention (EPR). One innovative method features the use of  magnetoelectric nanoparticles (MENPs), which utilize the multiferroic coupling of piezoelectric and  magnetostrictive materials to react to magnetic fields with an induced polarization. This opens a slew of  functional options, such as imaging, guidance, targeting, and remote release of anticancer drugs. I will  be reviewing a paper that investigated the delivery of paclitaxel (a common chemotherapy agent)  bonded to MENPs (Cobalt Ferrite/Barium Titanate core-shell structures, CoFe2O4@BaTiO3) in order to  treat ovarian cancer in mice.[1] After injecting the particles into mice, a DC magnetic field concentrated  the particles at the tumor site and allowed them to differentially enter the cancer cells through  nanoelectroporation. An AC magnetic field was then able to shed the bonded paclitaxel within the cells  on-demand, resulting in lower exposure to the drug for the other cells in the body. This approach could  improve the selectivity of target specific delivery and release. I will compare the method and results with other drug delivery options based on nanoscience, such as polymer (PLGA) and protein (Albumin)  nanoparticles, as well as another multiferroic method which forgoes drug use entirely, instead relying on  the catalytic performance of Bismuth Ferrite nanoparticles (BiFeO3) under ultrasound stimulation.[2] 

[1] Rodzinski, Alexandra, et al. "Targeted and controlled anticancer drug delivery and release with  magnetoelectric nanoparticles." Scientific Reports 6, 1-14 (2016). 

[2] Feng, Lili, et al. "Multifunctional Bismuth Ferrite Nanocatalysts with Optical and Magnetic Functions
for Ultrasound-Enhanced Tumor Theranostics." ACS Nano 14, 7245-7258 (2020).


Caio Davison is a Ph.D. student in nanoscience at the Virginia Commonwealth University.