Magnetic nanoparticles are an attractive material. Utilizing the magnetic properties of magnetic nanoparticles, various medical technologies have been developed. We are developing technology to apply these tiny iron particles to regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.

Functional magnetic nanoparticles

The material we use is magnetite (Fe3O4) that is not a red rusty iron, but a chemically stable black iron oxide. We are developing functional magnetic nanoparticles by modifying magnetite with a diameter of 10 nm (1 / 100 millionth of a meter) with various biomaterials.

Magnetic force-based process for regenerative medicine

The functional magnetic nanoparticles are attached to target cells, the cells can be manipulated by magnetic force. Magnetically labeled target cells can be separated with a magnet; DNAs can be also magnetically labeled with functional magnetic nanoparticles and genes of interest can be introduced into target cells with magnetic force; target cells can be patterned with a microfabricated magnet to form micropattern like a vascular network. Furthermore, it is possible to create transplantable three-dimensional tissues by magnetic accumulation of target cells which we termed Magnetic force-based tissue engineering (Mag-TE). We manufacture functional magnetic nanoparticles for the process in regenerative medicine and develop novel technologies for regenerative medicine.

Figure. Regenerative medicine using functional magnetic nanoparticles

Cancer therapy using functional magnetic nanoparticles

Magnetic nanoparticles are not only attracted to magnets, but also have the property of generating heat in an alternating magnetic field. If only magnetic nanoparticles are in the tumor tissue, the tumors can be heated by applying an alternating magnetic field. We are developing functional magnetic nanoparticles that specifically target to cancer cells. Magnetic nanoparticles can be used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and if magnetic nanoparticles can be targeted to tumor tissue by a drug delivery system of functional magnetic nanoparticles, the cancer cells can be detected by MRI. Furthermore,it is possible to heat only the tumor tissue by irradiating with an alternating magnetic field from outside the body. We believe that cancer therapy using magnetic nanoparticles is a breakthrough technology that enables simultaneous diagnosis and therapy of cancer. Preclinical studies have already confirmed its effectiveness as a cancer treatment. We are conducting research and development to put this new cancer treatment method into practical use.