HSA coated iron oxide nanoparticles as drug delivery vehicles for cancer therapy

Qimeng Quan, Jin Xie, Haokao Gao, Min Yang, Fan Zhang, Gang Liu, Xin Lin, Andrew Wang, Henry S. Eden, Seulki Lee, Guixiang Zhang, Xiaoyuan Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


An ongoing effort in the field of nanomedicine is to develop nanoplatforms with both imaging and therapeutic functions, the "nanotheranostics". We have previously developed a human serum albumin (HSA) coated iron oxide nanoparticle (HINP) formula and used multiple imaging modalities to validate its tumor targeting attributes. In the current study, we sought to impart doxorubicin (Dox) onto the HINPs and to assess the potential of the conjugates as theranostic agents. In a typical preparation, we found that about 0.5 mg of Dox and 1 mg of iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs, Fe content) could be loaded into 10 mg of HSA matrices. The resulting D-HINPs (Dox loaded HINPs) have a hydrodynamic size of 50 nm and are able to release Dox in a sustained fashion. More impressively, the HINPs can assist the translocation of Dox across the cell membrane and even its accumulation in the nucleus. In vivo, D-HINPs retained a tumor targeting capability of HINPs, as manifested by both in vivo MRI and ex vivo immunostaining results. In a follow-up therapeutic study on a 4T1 murine breast cancer xenograft model, D-HINPs showed a striking tumor suppression effect that was comparable to that of Doxil and greatly outperformed free Dox. Such a strategy can be readily extended to load other types of small molecules, making HINP a promising theranostic nanoplatform.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1669-1676
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Pharmaceutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 3 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • breast cancer
  • doxorubicin
  • drug delivery
  • iron oxide nanoparticle
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • theranostic nanomedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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