Science and Technology of Advanced Materials Research: Comprehensive Review on Biomedical Applications of Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Wins STAM Best Paper Award 2017


Main crystalline structures of iron oxide that are promising for biomedical applications.

The review for the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM) contains the latest findings on functionalizing strategies, synthesis, and bio-applications of iron oxide NPs


Source: Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM) Headquarter Office, National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)

Wei Wu of Wuhan University, China, shares his insights into magnetic nanoparticles for medical applications and his thoughts on winning the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM) Best Paper Award 2017.

Detailed research on the potential of nanometer sized iron oxide particles for medical applications can be traced back to the 1950s, where for example in an in vitro experiment, surgeons injected iron oxide particles into cancerous tissues and applied high frequency magnetic fields to inductively heat the particles. The oscillating magnetic field yielded an increase in the local temperature of tissues that destroyed cancer cells–a technique known as magnetic hyperthermia.

Now, Wei Wu and colleagues at Wuhan University, China, are building on the long history of innovative biomedical applications of iron oxide nanoparticles. “Surface functionalized magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles are being examined from both the fundamental and practical perspectives, especially in bio-applications,” says Wu. “We have published about 50 papers on the topic of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and strategies for functionalizing them and some of our publications have been cited more than 600 times in ISI databases. The review for the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (STAM) contains the latest findings on functionalizing strategies, synthesis, and bio-applications of iron oxide NPs.”

W Wu etal, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials,16, 023501 (2015).

Wu adds that the review includes details about recent approaches for the synthesis and surface modification of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, and will be a valuable resource for researchers involved in biomedical application of magnetic iron oxide nanomaterials.

Wu was pleasantly surprised to hear about the award. “I really want to thank the editors of STAM for choosing this paper,” says Wu. “I will continue to submit papers in the future that hopefully will also be as influential at this one. STAM is the perfect platform for the international community of materials scientists to share our results.”

Notes on magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications

Iron oxide nanoparticles and ‘magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) in general, are widely used in areas including contrast enhancing agents in magnetic resonance imaging, separating biological molecules from liquids, and as ‘magnetic labels’ in medical diagnostics.

Modern research is focussed on synthesising uniform sizes of MNPs using both wet and dry chemistry-mediated methods. MNPs tend to form clusters, so there is extensive work on functionalizing their surfaces to produce highly dispersive MNPs.

As-synthesized iron oxide nanoparticles are usually embedded into polymers or other such matrices to produce superparamagnetic particles-often referred to as ‘magnetic beads’ that are both highly dispersive in liquids and their surfaces are easy to functionalize with biomolecules for applications including biosensing using magnetoresistive devices.

Challenges include innovative surface functionalization to produce magnetic nanoparticles that, for example, emit optical or radioactive signals.

Wei Wu, Zhaohui Wu, Taekyung Yu, Changzhong Jiang & Woo-Sik Kim (2015) Recent progress on magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles: synthesis, surface functional strategies and biomedical applications, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, 16:2, 023501.

About NIMS and STAM
NIMS and Empa have jointed efforts to develop a flagship journal that provides highly-quality information on recent developments in materials science within an open access platform. The collaboration will strengthen the position of STAM in Europe.

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