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Ferritin-Coated SPIONs as New Cancer Cell Targeted Magnetic Nanocarrier

  • Autori: Affatigato, Luisa; Licciardi, Mariano; Bonamore, Alessandra; Martorana, Annalisa; Incocciati, Alessio; Boffi, Alberto; Militello, Valeria
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2023
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs) may act as an excellent theragnostic tool if properly coated and stabilized in a biological environment, even more, if they have targeting properties towards a specific cellular target. Humanized Archaeoglobus fulgidus Ferritin (HumAfFt) is an engineered ferritin characterized by the peculiar salt-triggered assembly-disassembly of the hyperthermophile Archaeoglobus fulgidus ferritin and is successfully endowed with the human H homopolymer recognition sequence by the transferrin receptor (TfR1 or CD71), overexpressed in many cancer cells in response to the increased demand of iron. For this reason, HumAfFt was successfully used in this study as a coating material for 10 nm SPIONs, in order to produce a new magnetic nanocarrier able to discriminate cancer cells from normal cells and maintain the potential theragnostic properties of SPIONs. HumAfFt-SPIONs were exhaustively characterized in terms of size, morphology, composition, and cytotoxicity. The preferential uptake capacity of cancer cells toward HumAfFt-SPIONs was demonstrated in vitro on human breast adenocarcinoma (MCF7) versus normal human dermal fibroblast (NHDF) cell lines.