How magnetometers are being used in biomedical research

Hysteresis loop and moleculesOver the past decade, researchers have increasingly been exploring new ways of using magnetic nanoparticles for a wide range of biomedical applications. A bulk of this work has concentrated on further developing agents for magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic field-controlled delivery of drugs in-vivo, cell separation, and gene targeting, particularly for magnetic field-controlled cancer therapies.

Because researchers must obtain hysteresis parameters when characterizing the behavior of nanoparticles, with increasing frequency we are seeing in medical, chemistry, and other scientific journals references to the use of Lake Shore magnetometers in this fascinating research. In particular, we have seen VSMs used to:

  • Compare hysteresis loops of biosynthesized magnetite nanoparticles (BMNPs) with chemically synthesized nanoparticles, specifically for possibility of the BMNPs being used for precise targeting and treatment of breast cancer.
  • Measure properties of a core-shell gadolinium-based nanoparticle, potentially to aid in the delivery of tumor-suppressing therapeutics, as well as MR imaging, for breast cancer treatments.
  • Analyze composites of magnetic polymeric Fe3O4 nanoparticles (MPNPs) created from organic and inorganic components for use in magnetic field-controlled targeted drug delivery systems.
  • Characterize manganese selenide (MnSe) quantum dots with both highly fluorescent and magnetic properties for possible lymphocyte cell imaging applications.
  • Measure magnetic properties of various Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) to determine the amount of protein absorption on the surface of those MNPs when immersed in cell cultures.
  • Characterize magnetic behavior of Fe3O4 nanoparticle samples synthesized by thermal decomposition and atmospheric micro-plasmas (AMPs) for drug delivery.
  • Estimate magnetic particle size distribution by performing zero field cooled/field cooled experiments.

The use of magnetometry for nanoparticle characterization further highlights how an interdisciplinary approach, one that incorporates technology more commonly found in university material sciences and engineering labs, can perhaps one day lead to more effective and much less invasive treatments in healthcare.

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