Materials science: Magnetic gel delivers drugs

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
468,
Page:
1004
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/4681004c
Published online

Drugs and cells can be delivered on demand by a porous material engineered to compress in response to an applied magnetic field.

David Mooney at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his team prepared an alginate-based gel with micrometre-sized pores, and paramagnetic iron nanoparticles embedded throughout. On exposure to a magnetic field, the nanoparticles put the squeeze on the ferrogel. The authors used this to release a drug payload in in vitro experiments and, by implanting the gel into mice, for localized release of dye-stained stem cells.

With a reversible volume reduction of more than 70% (pictured), such ferrogels may also find applications as actuators and sensors in biomedical applications.

NATL ACAD. SCI.

Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA doi:10.1073/pnas.1007862108 (2010)

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