Physical stability, biocompatibility and potential use of hybrid iron oxide-gold nanoparticles as drug carriers

Christopher Barnett, Mariana Gueorguieva, Martin Lees, David McGarvey, Clare Hoskins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Hybrid nanoparticles (HNPs) such as iron oxide-gold nanoparticles are currently being exploited for their potential application in image-guided therapies. However, little investigation has been carried out into their physical or chemical stability and potential cytotoxicity in biological systems. Here, we determine the HNPs physical stability over 6 months and chemical stability in physiological conditions, and estimate the biological activity of uncoated and poly(ethylene glycol) coated nanoparticles on human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (BxPC-3) and differentiated human monocyte cells (U937). The potential of these HNPs to act as drug carrier vehicles was determined using the model drug 6-Thioguanine (6-TG). The data showed that the HNPs maintained their structural integrity both physically and chemically throughout the duration of the studies. In addition, negligible cytotoxicity or free radical production was observed in the cell lines tested. The 6-TG was successfully conjugated; with a ratio of 3:1:10 Fe:Au:6-TG (wt:wt:wt). After incubation with BxPC-3 cells, enhanced cellular uptake was reported with the 6-TG-conjugated HNPs compared with free drug along with a 10-fold decrease in IC50. This exciting data highlights the potential of HNPs for use in image-guided drug delivery.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1706
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2013


  • hybrid nanoparticle
  • magnetic nanoparticle
  • gold nano-shell
  • stability
  • biocompatibility
  • drug delivery


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