Efficient Tumor Eradication at Ultralow Drug Concentration via Externally Controlled and Boosted Metallic Iron Magnetoplasmonic Nanocapsules

Arnon Fluksman, Aritz Lafuente, Zhi Li, Jordi Sort, Silvia Lope-Piedrafita, Maria José Esplandiu, Josep Nogues, Alejandro G. Roca, Ofra Benny*, Borja Sepulveda*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


With the aim to locally enhance the efficacy of cancer nanotherapies, here we present metal iron based magnetoplasmonic drug-loaded nanocapsules (MAPSULES), merging powerful external magnetic concentration in the tumor and efficient photothermal actuation to locally boost the drug therapeutic action at ultralow drug concentrations. The MAPSULES are composed of paclitaxel-loaded polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles partially coated by a nanodome shape iron/silica semishell. The iron semishell has been designed to present a ferromagnetic vortex for incorporating a large quantity of ferromagnetic material while maintaining high colloidal stability. The large iron semishell provides very strong magnetic manipulation via magnetophoretic forces, enabling over 10-fold higher trapping efficiency in microfluidic channels than typical superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. Moreover, the iron semishell exhibits highly damped plasmonic behavior, yielding intense broadband absorbance in the near-infrared biological windows and photothermal efficiency similar to the best plasmonic nanoheaters. The in vivo therapeutic assays in a mouse xenograft tumor model show a high amplification of the therapeutic effects by combining magnetic concentration and photothermal actuation in the tumor, leading to a complete eradication of the tumors at ultralow nanoparticle and drug concentration (equivalent to only 1 mg/kg PLGA nanoparticles containing 8 μg/kg of paclitaxel, i.e., 100-500-fold lower than the therapeutic window of the free and PLGA encapsulated drug and 13-3000-fold lower than current nanotherapies combining paclitaxel and light actuation). These results highlight the strength of this externally controlled and amplified therapeutic approach, which could be applied to locally boost a wide variety of drugs for different diseases.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1946-1958
Number of pages13
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - 14 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society.


  • breast cancer
  • magnetic manipulation
  • nanocapsules
  • paclitaxel
  • photothermal therapy


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