Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics

: 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 144--145

Guided drug delivery with magnetic force

G Sivagnanam 
 Section Editor, Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics, India

Correspondence Address:
G Sivagnanam
Section Editor, Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics

How to cite this article:
Sivagnanam G. Guided drug delivery with magnetic force.J Pharmacol Pharmacother 2011;2:144-145

How to cite this URL:
Sivagnanam G. Guided drug delivery with magnetic force. J Pharmacol Pharmacother [serial online] 2011 [cited 2020 May 31 ];2:144-145
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"Researchers from Brown University had albino rats take gelatin capsules containing tiny magnets. The team used a magnet outside the body to direct the movement of the pills in the small intestine, and used a computer to track the pills and at the same time use the guidance system to test which spots are better and worse at absorbing chemicals." [1]


Magnetic materials are already used in diagnostics, a classic case being magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents. Magnetic particles are presently explored as a means in other diagnostic and therapeutic medicine too.

Anatomical mapping (3-D images) as well as continuous evaluation of human gastrointestinal motility is possible using a minimally invasive technique called "magnetic tracking system" (MTS). MTS is a potential method for studies of gastrointestinal motility in normal as well as pathological conditions (e.g., motility disorders). A small magnet progressing through the digestive tract is tracked continuously through signals received and recorded by 16 magnetic field sensors placed over the abdomen. [2],[3]


Therapeutic or diagnostic agents are encapsulated within or attached with magnetic micro/nano particles. When this complex is injected into the blood stream, it can be attracted to and released at a desired site (mostly superficial body sites as the magnetic field strength reduces in deeper tissues) by a focused, high-gradient external magnetic field over the site.


This technique has potential applications like delivering genes [4] or drugs [5] to the desired target tissue. As of date, usage of magnetic force in applied therapeutics, especially for drug delivery, is still in the embryonic stage. However, ongoing research aims at targeted delivery of drugs like anti-cancer drugs (e.g., doxorubicin), NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen) and enzymes (e.g., trypsin, lipase), etc. [6] The likely toxicity from magnetic particles remains unknown.


It is a simple and efficient transfection (introduction of exogenous DNA into cells, i.e. gene transfer) method utilizing magnetic fields to deliver and retain nucleic acid into the target cells. [7]

Thus, magnetic principle is employed not only in potential targeted drug therapy but also in gene therapy.


1Khan A. Los Angeles Times. Available from:,0,1628155. story. [Last accessed on 2011 Jan 5].
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3Hiroz P, Schlageter V, Givel JC, Kucera P. Colonic movements in healthy subjects as monitored by a Magnet Tracking System. Sch Neurogastroenterol Motil 2009;21:838-e57.
4Plank C, Schillinger U, Scherer F, Bergemann C, Rémy JS, Krötz F, et al. The magnetofection method: Using magnetic force to enhance gene delivery. Biol Chem 2003;384:737-47.
5Lázaro FJ, Abadía AR, Romero MS, Gutiérrez L, Lázaro J, Morales MP. Magnetic characterisation of rat muscle tissues after subcutaneous iron dextran injection. Biochim Biophys Acta 2005;1740:434-45.
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7Scherer F, Anton M, Schillinger U, Henke J, Bergemann C, Kruger A, et al. Magnetofection: Enhancing and targeting gene delivery by magnetic force in vitro and in vivo. Gene Ther 2002;9:102-9.