In situ formation of magnetopolymersomes via electroporation for MRI

Jennifer Bain, Lorena Ruiz-Pérez, Aneurin J. Kennerley, Stephen P. Muench, Rebecca Thompson, Giuseppe Battaglia, Sarah S. Staniland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the development of diagnostic/therapeutic (and combined: theranostic) nanomedicine grows, smart drug-delivery vehicles become ever more critical. Currently therapies consist of drugs tethered to, or encapsulated within nanoparticles or vesicles. There is growing interest in functionalising them with magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) to target the therapeutics by localising them using magnetic fields. An alternating magnetic field induces remote heating of the particles (hyperthermia) triggering drug release or cell death. Furthermore, MNPs are diagnostic MRI contrast agents. There is considerable interest in MNP embedded vehicles for nanomedicine, but their development is hindered by difficulties producing consistently monodisperse MNPs and their reliable loading into vesicles. Furthermore, it is highly advantageous to trigger MNP production and to tune the MNP's size and magnetic response. Here we present the first example of a tuneable, switchable magnetic delivery vehicle for nanomedical application. These are comprised of robust, tailored polymer vesicles (polymersomes) embedded with superparamagnetic magnetite MNPs (magnetopolymersomes) which show good MRI contrast (R2∗ = 148.8 s -1) and have a vacant core for loading of therapeutics. Critically, the magnetopolymersomes are produced by a pioneering nanoreactor method whereby electroporation triggers the in situ formation of MNPs within the vesicle membrane, offering a switchable, tuneable magnetic responsive theranostic delivery vehicle.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14311
Number of pages8
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2015

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