• magnetic nanoparticles;
  • cancer cells;
  • conjugation;
  • doxorubicin;
  • poly(methacrylic acid);
  • hydrazone linkages;
  • magnetic drug targeting


Superparamagnetic magnetic nanoparticles were successfully functionalized with poly(methacrylic acid) via atom transfer radical polymerization, followed by conjugation to doxorubicin (Dox). Because of pH-sensitive hydrazone linkages, the rate and extent of Dox release from the particles was higher at a lower pH and/or a higher temperature than at physiological conditions. Appropriate changes to the pH and temperature can increase the drug release from the particles. Because of the released drug, the particles were found to be cytotoxic to human breast cancer cells in vitro. Such magnetic nanoparticles, with the potential to retain drug under physiological conditions and release the drug in conditions where the pH is lower or temperature is higher, may be useful in magnetic drug targeting by reducing the side effects of the drug caused to healthy tissues. In addition, they may serve as hyperthermia agents where the high temperatures used in hyperthermia can trigger further drug release. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011