Lund University in Sweden announced last week that they have successfully targeted artificial implants in a pig by using magnetics to direct therapeutic nanoparticles.
Henrik Kempe and Maria Kempe (brother and sister) surface-coated an anti-clotting drug with magnetite nanoparticles and used an external magnet placed over an implanted artery stint.
The ability to deliver drugs to a targeted location is one of the great promises of nanotech; among other things, it means smaller doses and fewer side effects. If this technology works for humans, it will be used for antibiotics, anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting drugs for patients who have received metal plates, hips and knees. The nanoparticles used by Kempe were approximately 20-30nm in diameter and had the benefit of being able to easily diffuse through blood vessels. Directing drugs using magnets is not a new idea, but this is one of the first pieces of research that have been successful below superficial levels and may provide a number of opportunities for new applications.