Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have been explored extensively as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or as heating agents for magnetic fluid hyperthermia (MFH) . To achieve optimum operation conditions in MRI and MFH, these NPs should have well-controlled magnetic properties and biological functionalities. Although numerous efforts have been dedicated to the investigations on MNPs for biomedical applications [2-5], the NP optimizations for early diagnostics and efficient therapeutics are still far from reached. Recent efforts in NP syntheses have led to some promising MNP systems for sensitive MRI and efficient MFH applications. This review summarizes these advances in the synthesis of monodisperse MNPs as both contrast probes in MRI and as therapeutic agents via MFH. It will first introduce the nanomagnetism and elucidate the critical parameters to optimize the superparamagnetic NPs for MRI and ferromagnetic NPs for MFH. It will further outline the new chemistry developed for making monodisperse MNPs with controlled magnetic properties. The review will finally highlight the NP functionalization with biocompatible molecules and biological targeting agents for tumor diagnosis and therapy.
Keywords: Magnetic nanoparticles, superparamagnetism, ferromagnetism, nanoparticle synthesis, nanoparticle functionalization, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic fluid hyperthermia