Functionalization of Strongly Interacting Magnetic Nanocubes with (Thermo)responsive Coating and their Application in Hyperthermia and Heat-Triggered Drug Delivery

Hamilton Kakwere, Manuel Pernia Leal, Maria-Elena Materia, Alberto Curcio, Pablo Guardia, Dina Niculaes, Roberto Marotta, Andrea Falqui, Teresa Pellegrino

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94 Scopus citations


Herein we prepare nanohybrids by incorporating iron oxide nanocubes (cubic-IONPs) within a thermo-responsive polymer shell that can act as drug carriers for doxorubicin(doxo). The cubic-shaped nanoparticles employed are at the interface between superparamagnetic and ferromagnetic behavior and have an exceptionally high specific absorption rate (SAR) but their functionalization is extremely challenging compared to bare superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles as they strongly interact with each other. By conducting the polymer grafting reaction using reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization in a viscous solvent medium, we have here developed a facile approach to decorate the nanocubes with stimuli-responsive polymers. When the thermo-responsive shell is composed of poly(N-isopropyl acrylamide-co-polyethylene glycolmethylether acrylate), nanohybrids have a phase transition temperature, the lower critical solution temperature (LCST), above 37 °C in physiological conditions. Doxo loaded nanohybrids exhibited a negligible drug release below 37 °C but showed a consistent release of their cargo on demand by exploiting the capability of the nanocubes to generate heat under an alternating magnetic field (AMF). Moreover, the drug free nanocarrier does not exhibit cytotoxicity even when administered at high concentration of nanocubes (1g/L of iron) and internalized at high extent (260 pg of iron per cell). We have also implemented the synthesis protocol to decorate the surface of nanocubes with poly(vinylpyridine) polymer and thus prepare pH-responsive shell coated nanocubes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10132-10145
Number of pages14
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number19
StatePublished - May 5 2015

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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