Iron-based magnetic nanoparticles enable delivery of therapeutic drugs at the tumor site preventing side effects in healthy organs. And more: with their help, the functionality of implants inside the human body can be controlled.


The workgroup Nanomagnetic Medical Engineering investigates magnetic nanoparticles with regard to their clinical use in two major medical fields:

  Laboratory Copyright: © Ioana Slabu

Transport and release systems

Magnetic nanoparticles can be used to deliver drugs, such as chemotherapeutics, to the tumor site resulting in a reduction of side-effects and a higher dose at the tumor site. For this, drugs bound to magnetic nanoparticles are injected into a blood vessel and attracted to the tumor via magnetic fields. The drugs can then be released directly inside the tumor, for instance by applying heat, which is provided by the nanoparticles, to the tumor. This is feasible because magnetic nanoparticles transform the energy of an external alternating magnetic field into heat. The heat additionally damages the tumor at a temperature of approximately 43°C, so-called hyperthermia.

  Material Copyright: © Oliver Reisen

Smart implants with magnetic nanoparticles

“Smart implants” are made of hybrid materials combining a biological or textile matrix with magnetic nanoparticles. Due to this combination, the properties of such smart implants can be specifically determined and controlled with magnetic fields. Using alternating magnetic fields, the implants can be heated up and the temperature can be adjusted in a controlled manner enabling tumor ablation. The magnetic nanoparticles also act as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic particle imaging (MPI), which allows physicians to check the functionality of the implants.