Synthesis and functionalisation of superparamagnetic nano-rods towards the treatment of glioblastoma brain tumours

Habra, K. ORCID: 0000-0001-8272-6048, McArdle, S.E.B. ORCID: 0000-0001-6929-9782, Morris, R.H. ORCID: 0000-0001-5511-3457 and Cave, G.W.V. ORCID: 0000-0002-4167-1332, 2021. Synthesis and functionalisation of superparamagnetic nano-rods towards the treatment of glioblastoma brain tumours. Nanomaterials, 11 (9): 2157. ISSN 2079-4991

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The complete removal of glioblastoma brain tumours is impossible to achieve by surgery alone due to the complex finger-like tentacle structure of the tumour cells and their migration away from the bulk of the tumour at the time of surgery; furthermore, despite aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments following surgery, tumour cells continue to grow, leading to the death of patients within 15 months after diagnosis. The naturally occurring carnosine dipeptide has previously demonstrated activity against in vitro cultured glioblastoma cells; however, at natural physiological concentrations, its activity is too low to have a significant effect. Towards realising the full oncological potential of carnosine, the dipeptide was embedded within an externally triggered carrier, comprising a novel nano rod-shaped superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (ca. 86 × 19 × 11 nm) capped with a branched polyethyleneimine, which released the therapeutic agent in the presence of an external magnetic field. The new nano-carrier was characterized using electron microscopy, dynamic light scattering, elemental analysis, and magnetic resonance imaging techniques. In addition to cytotoxicity studies, the carnosine carrier’s effectiveness as a treatment for glioblastoma was screened in vitro using the U87 human glioblastoma astrocytoma cell line. The labile carnosine (100 mM) suppresses both the U87 cells’ proliferation and mobility over 48 h, resulting in significant reduction in migration and potential metastasis. Carnosine was found to be fully released from the carrier using only mild hyperthermia conditions (40 °C), facilitating an achievable clinical application of the slow, sustained-release treatment of glioblastoma brain tumours that demonstrates potential to inhibit post-surgery metastasis with the added benefit of non-invasive monitoring via MRI.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Nanomaterials
Creators: Habra, K., McArdle, S.E.B., Morris, R.H. and Cave, G.W.V.
Publisher: MDPI AG
Date: 24 August 2021
Volume: 11
Number: 9
ISSN: 2079-4991
Rights: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 27 Aug 2021 08:32
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 08:32

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