Precise guidance of gene therapy vectors is possible via nanomagnets

Magnetic nanoparticles may be used to control spatial and temporal activation of genetic therapy.

Acitvation of viruses – typical tools of gene therapies – is more successful and less toxic when conducted only in specific organ or even its part. Current therapies try to control this factor by chemical or chirurgical interventions.

A new, non-invasive method proposes utilization of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles conjugated with a protein attached to viral vector.

After delivery of viruses in mice models, external magnet was placed near organ of desired activation. Strong magnetic field caused movement of nanomagnets with attached viruses, supported entrance of viral particles into a cell and activated their genes. Experimental procedures showed that gene modification was not started in other organs.

More: “Spatial control of in vivo CRISPR–Cas9 genome editing via nanomagnets”, H. Zhu et al., 2018, doi:10.1038/s41551-018-0318-7.