Background: Quantitative knowledge about the spatial distribution and local environment of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) inside an organism is essential for guidance and improvement of biomedical applications such as magnetic hyperthermia and magnetic drug targeting. Magnetorelaxometry (MRX) provides such quantitative information by detecting the magnetic response of MNPs following a fast change in the applied magnetic field.
Methods: In this article, we review our MRX based procedures that enable both the characterization and the quantitative imaging of MNPs in a biomedical environment.
Results: MRX characterization supported the selection of an MNP system with colloidal stability and suitable cellular MNP uptake. Spatially resolved MRX, a procedure employing multi-channel MRX measurements allowed for in-vivo monitoring of the MNP distribution in a pre-clinical carcinoma animal model. Extending spatially resolved MRX by consecutive magnetization of distinct parts of the sample led to a demonstration of MRX tomography. With this tomography, we reconstructed the three dimensional MNP distribution inside animal sized phantoms with a sensitivity of milligrams of MNPs per cm3. In addition, the targeting efficiency of MNPs in whole blood was assessed using a flow phantom and MRX quantification.
Conclusion: These MRX based measurement and analysis procedures have substantially supported the development of MNP based biomedical applications.