Multifunctional Inorganic Nanoparticles for Imaging, Targeting, and Drug Delivery
Drug delivery, magnetic resonance and fluorescence imaging, magnetic manipulation, and cell targeting are simultaneously possible using a multifunctional mesoporous silica nanoparticle. Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanocrystals were encapsulated inside mesostructured silica spheres that were labeled with fluorescent dye molecules and coated with hydrophilic groups to prevent aggregation. Water-insoluble anticancer drugs were delivered into human cancer cells; surface conjugation with cancer-specific targeting agents increased the uptake into cancer cells relative to that in non-cancerous fibroblasts. The highly versatile multifunctional nanoparticles could potentially be used for simultaneous imaging and therapeutic applications.