Lay summary

Therapeutic applications and potential health risks of carbon protected magnetic metal nanoparticles (NPs) will be elucidated, focusing on efficiency of magnetically guiding NPs as well as elimination of toxic substances from the body. Compatibility in the vascular compartment will be tested as well as interaction of NPs with hepatic cells.???

Carbon coated nanomagnets benefit from their uniquely high mobility, the exceptionally high specific surface area and the corresponding large capacity for reliable linking of functional groups, making them extremely effective drug carriers. The magneto-responsive properties allow control and targeting through magnetic gradient fields. Current problems associated with the use of magnetic microparticles are their low binding capacity, or a bad response to magnetic fields, particularly for oxide-based materials. Carbon coated metal NPs contribute to overcoming these drawbacks as their highly magnetic metal core allows rapid movement, yet their high specific surface area (10 - 10'000 times larger then microparticles) allows sufficient capacity to ligand binding.

Potentials and possible harms within the life cycle of carbon coated magnetic NPs will be assessed in this grant application. Regarding chances, magnetic NPs will be evaluated focusing on the possibility of magnetically guiding drugs to a desired region in the human body (e.g. bringing chemotherapeutics to a tumor). In a second scenario, using magnetic metal NPs, target molecule isolation in a detoxification procedure in situations such as drug overdose or misbalance in inflammatory mediators will be evaluated. As the knowledge on human exposure of engineered metal NPs is still very limited - in contrast, microparticles are under extended investigation - a detailed risk assessment is a prerequisite for a future therapeutic application. Therefore, key points of the life cycle of magnetic metal NPs will be evaluated (exposure of vascular compartment) and the liver (possible accumulation). The character of the interaction of magnetic metal NPs with endothelial, blood and hepatic cells will be assessed and possible inflammation reactions and/or toxicity will be determined. Additionally, bio-interaction during therapeutic application in the blood stream will be investigated regarding blood coagulation.

This project thereby lays the groundwork to bringing this promising new technology from bench to bedside involving basic researchers, clinicians and industrial partners.