Bacterially synthesized ferrite nanoparticles for magnetic hyperthermia applications†
Magnetic hyperthermia uses AC stimulation of magnetic nanoparticles to generate heat for cancer cell destruction. Whilst nanoparticles produced inside magnetotactic bacteria have shown amongst the highest reported heating to date, these particles are magnetically blocked so that strong heating occurs only for mobile particles, unless magnetic field parameters are far outside clinical limits. Here, nanoparticles extracellularly produced by the bacteria Geobacter sulfurreducens are investigated that contain Co or Zn dopants to tune the magnetic anisotropy, saturation magnetization and nanoparticle sizes, enabling heating within clinical field constraints. The heating mechanisms specific to either Co or Zn doping are determined from frequency dependent specific absorption rate (SAR) measurements and innovative AC susceptometry simulations that use a realistic model concerning clusters of polydisperse nanoparticles in suspension. Whilst both particle types undergo magnetization relaxation and show heating effects in water under low AC frequency and field, only Zn doped particles maintain relaxation combined with hysteresis losses even when immobilized. This magnetic heating process could prove important in the biological environment where nanoparticle mobility may not be possible. Obtained SARs are discussed regarding clinical conditions which, together with their enhanced MRI contrast, indicate that biogenic Zn doped particles are promising for combined diagnostics and cancer therapy.