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Int J Mol Epidemiol Genet 2011;2(4):367-390

Review Article
Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles: promises for diagnosis and
treatment of cancer

Sophie Laurent, Morteza Mahmoudi

Department of General, Organic, and Biomedical Chemistry, NMR and Molecular Imaging Laboratory, University of Mons,
Avenue Maistriau, 19, B-7000 Mons, Belgium; National Cell Bank, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran; Nanotechnology
Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Received November 14, 2011; accepted November 22, 2011; Epub November 25, 2011; Published December 15, 2011

Abstract: During the last decade, significant scientific research efforts have led to a significant growth in understanding of
cancer at the genetic, molecular, and cellular levels providing great opportunities for diagnosis and treatment of cancer
diseases. The hopes for fast cancer diagnosis and treatment were significantly increased by the entrance of nanoparticles to
the medical sciences. Nanoparticles are attractive due to their unique opportunities together with negligible side effects not
only in cancer therapy but also in the treatment of other ailments. Among all types of nanoparticles, surface-engineered
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) have been attracted a great attention for cancer therapy applications.
This review covers the recent advances in the development of SPIONs together with their opportunities and challenges, as
theranosis agents, in cancer treatment. (IJMEG1111002).

Key words: Cancer, tumor, nanoscience, nanotechnology, nanoparticle, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles,
SPIONs, coatings, surfaces, targeted drug delivery, controlled drug release, anticancer drugs, chemotherapy, radiotherapy,
thermotherapy

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Address all correspondence to:
Dr. Morteza Mahmoudi
National Cell Bank, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran;
Nanotechnology Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy
Tehran University of Medical Sciences,
Tehran, Iran.
Tel: +98 (21) 66492595; Fax: +98 (21) 66492595;
E-mail: Mahmoudi@biospion.com