Magnetically-assisted delivery of therapeutic agents to the site of interest, which is
referred to as magnetic drug targeting, has proven to be a promising strategy in a number of
studies. One of the key advantages over other targeting strategies is the possibility to control
remotely the distribution and accumulation of the nanocarriers after parenteral administration.
However, preparation of effective and robust magnetically responsive nanocarriers based on
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanocrystals (SPIONs) still represents a great scientific challenge,
since spatial guidance of individual SPIONs is ineffective despite the presence of high
magnetic field gradient. A strategy to overcome this issue is the clustering of SPIONs to
achieve sufficient magnetic responsiveness. In this mini-review, we address current and future
strategies for the design and fabrication of magnetically responsive nanocarriers based on
SPIONs for magnetically-targeted drug delivery, including the underlying physical requirements,
the possibility of drug loading, and the control of drug release at the targeted site.
Keywords: Magnetic nanoparticles, nanoparticle clusters, magnetic drug delivery, iron oxide nanocrystals, SPION
clusters, magnetic targeting, magnetic nanocarriers, magnetically-assisted delivery.
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