Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics Research Group

Review Paper

Magnetic responsive cell-based strategies for diagnostics and therapeutics


The potential of magnetically assisted strategies within the remit of cell-based therapies is increasing,
creating new opportunities for biomedical platforms and in the field of tissue engineering and
regenerative medicine. Among the magnetic elements approached for building magnetically
responsive strategies, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) represent tunable and
precise tools whose properties can be modelled for detection, diagnosis, targeting and therapy
purposes. The most investigated clinical role of SPIONs is as contrast imaging agents for tracking and
monitoring cells and tissues. Nevertheless, magnetic detection also includes biomarker mapping, cell
labelling and cell/drug targeting to monitor cell events and anticipate the disruption of homeostatic
conditions and the progression of disease. Additionally, the isolation and screening techniques of cell
subsets in heterogeneous populations or of proteins of interest have been explored in a magnetic
sorting context. More recently, SPION-based technologies have been applied to stimulate cell
differentiation and mechanotransduction processes and to transport genetic or drug cargo to study
biological mechanisms and contribute to improved therapies. Magnetically based strategies
significantly contribute to magnetic tissue engineering (magTE), in which magnetically responsive
actuators built from magnetic labelled cells or magnetic functionalized systems can be remotely
controlled and spatially manipulated upon the actuation of an external magnetic field for the delivery
or target of TE solutions. SPION functionalities combined with magnetic responsiveness in
multifactorial magnetically assisted platforms can revolutionize diagnosis and therapeutics, providing
new diagnosis and theranostic tools, encouraging regenerative medicine approaches and having
potential for more effective therapies. This review will address the contribution of SPION-based
technologies as multifunctional tools in boosting magnetically assisted cell-based strategies to explore
diagnostics and tracking solutions for the detection and analysis of pathologies, and to generate
improved treatments and therapies, envisioning precise and customized answers for the management
of numerous diseases.

Biomedical Materials
IOP Publishing Ltd
cell-based therapies, magnetic materials, Magnetic responsiveness, magTE, SPIONs
Open Access
Peer Reviewed
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