Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Larry Grill

Reader 2

Melissa Coleman

Reader 3

Audrey Chen

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2018 Graham E. Fullerton


Using iron super-paramagnetic and ferromagnetic nanoparticles composed of Fe3O4 molecules, scientists analyze the effectiveness and practicality of this new treatment theory, hyperthermia. The problems of magnetic particle density, isothermal barriers/cellular cooling thresholds, and nanoparticle specific targeting are addressed in this review.

Iron magnetic nanoparticles were chosen due to their relatively low biological reactivates and lack of subsequent cellular toxicity. However, there are significant heating problems associated with these magnetic nanoparticles due to their relative size and short thermal time constants or thermal half-lives. Effectively, these aforementioned issues create a phenomenon where cancerous cells, surrounded by unheated healthy tissue, exhibit properties similar to those of an isothermal barrier. As a result, target cells experience limited gross heating, which is localized to the area directly surrounding the active magnetic nanoparticle within the cytoplasm. The effects of isothermal barriers and HSP up regulation on particle-based hypothermia are profound and prevent therapeutic temperatures from being achieved in single cell heating limiting the applications for Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia applications.

It has been shown that reaching a certain magnetic nanoparticle density within the cell can result in a larger heating capacity, though this effect is also dependent on the particle dispersion pattern within cytoplasm. It has yet to be concluded whether ferromagnetic particles or super-paramagnetic particles are superior or more practical for hyperthermic treatments as they each have distinct benefits, and further study is needed.

Finally, the popular targeting mechanism associated with magnetic nanoparticle research, monoclonal antibodies, require that they have an organic coating (such as starch) as a means of both providing an organic binding point and as camouflage for avoiding host filtration pathways. Forgoing this organic coating could lead to increased particle density within the cell and the adoption of a more specific targeting mechanism such as virus like particles (VLPs) altered to target HSP’s could lead to an increase in yield. Furthermore the up regulation of HSPs in response to therapeutic temperature is problematic for the therapies practically.