Magnetic drug targeting has been proposed as means of concentrating therapeutic agents at a target site and the success of this approach has been demonstrated in a number of studies. However, the behavior of magnetic carriers in blood vessels and tumor microcirculation still remains unclear. In this work, we utilized polymeric magnetic nanocapsules (m-NCs) for magnetic targeting in tumors and dynamically visualized them within blood vessels and tumor tissues before, during and after magnetic field exposure using fibered confocal fluorescence microscopy (FCFM). Our results suggested that the distribution of m-NCs within tumor vasculature changed dramatically, but in a reversible way, upon application and removal of a magnetic field. The m-NCs were concentrated and stayed as clusters near a blood vessel wall when tumors were exposed to a magnetic field but without rupturing the blood vessel. The obtained FCFM images provided in vivo in situ microvascular observations of m-NCs upon magnetic targeting with high spatial resolution but minimally invasive surgical procedures. This proof-of-concept descriptive study in mice is envisaged to track and quantify nanoparticles in vivo in a non-invasive manner at microscopic resolution.
- Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs)
- Magnetic drug targeting