Iron oxide–gold core–shell nano-theranostic for magnetically targeted photothermal therapy under magnetic resonance imaging guidance

  • Ziaeddin Abed
  • Jaber Beik
  • Sophie Laurent
  • Neda Eslahi
  • Tahereh Khani
  • Elnaz S. Davani
  • Habib GhaznaviEmail author
  • Ali Shakeri-ZadehEmail author
Original Article – Cancer Research


Recent efforts in the area of photothermal therapy (PTT) follow two important aims: (i) selective targeting of plasmonic nanoparticles to the tumor and (ii) real-time guidance of PTT operation through employing multimodal imaging modalities. In the present study, we utilized a multifunctional theranostic nanoplatform constructed from iron (III) oxide–gold (Fe2O3@Au) core–shell nanoparticles to fulfill these aims. The Au shell exhibits surface plasmon resonance, a property that is exploited to realize PTT. The magnetic core enables Fe2O3@Au to be employed as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent. Furthermore, the magnetic core has the potential to establish a magnetic drug targeting strategy through which Fe2O3@Au can be directed to the tumor site by means of magnetic field. To test these potentials, Balb/c mice bearing CT26 colorectal tumor model were intravenously injected with Fe2O3@Au. Immediately after injection, a magnet was placed on the tumor site for 3 h to concentrate nanoparticles, followed by the near infrared (NIR) laser irradiation. MRI study confirmed the accumulation of nanoparticles within the tumor due to T2 enhancement capability of Fe2O3@Au. The in vivo thermometry results demonstrated that the tumors in magnetic targeting group had a significantly higher temperature elevation rate upon NIR irradiation than non-targeted group (~ 12 °C vs. 8.5 °C). The in vivo antitumor assessment revealed that systemic injection of Fe2O3@Au in combination with magnetic targeting and NIR irradiation resulted in complete remission of tumor growth. Therefore, Fe2O3@Au can establish a targeted PTT strategy for efficient eradication of tumor cells under the guidance of MRI.


Cancer Photothermal therapy Iron oxide–gold core–shell nanoparticles Magnetic targeting Magnetic resonance imaging 



This study was funded by Zahedan University of Medical Sciences (grant number 7970).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Finetech in Medicine Research CenterIran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS)TehranIran
  2. 2.General, Organic and Biomedical Chemistry, NMR and Molecular Imaging LaboratoryUniversity of MonsMonsBelgium
  3. 3.Endometriosis Research CenterIran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS)TehranIran
  4. 4.Zahedan University of Medical Sciences (ZaUMS)ZahedanIran
  5. 5.Medical Physics Department, School of MedicineIran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS)TehranIran

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