Nucleic acid delivery using magnetic nanoparticles: the Magnetofection™ technology


In recent years, gene therapy has received considerable interest as a potential method for the treatment of numerous inherited and acquired diseases. However, successes have so far been hampered by several limitations, including safety issues of viral-based nucleic acid vectors and poor in vivo efficiency of nonviral vectors. Magnetofection™ has been introduced as a novel and powerful tool to deliver genetic material into cells. This technology is defined as the delivery of nucleic acids, either ‘naked’ or packaged (as complexes with lipids or polymers, and viruses) using magnetic nanoparticles under the guidance of an external magnetic field. This article first discusses the principles of the Magnetofection technology and its benefits as compared with standard transfection methods. A number of relevant examples of its use, both in vitro and in vivo, will then be highlighted. Future trends in the development of new magnetic nanoparticle formulations will also be outlined.