HER-2-mediated endocytosis of magnetic nanospheres and the implications in cell targeting and particle magnetization

Shy Chyi Wuang, Koon Gee Neoh, En Tang Kang, Daniel W. Pack, Deborah E. Leckband

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Polypyrrole-Fe3O4 nanospheres were synthesized via an emulsion polymerization method with hyaluronic acid as the surfactant. Hyaluronic acid offers the advantages of biocompatibility, cell adhesive property and the availability of functional groups for attachment of other molecules. The nanospheres were further functionalized with herceptin, and the efficacy of uptake of the functionalized nanospheres by human breast cancer cells was evaluated. It is envisioned that the combination of hyaluronic acid with its cell adhesive property and herceptin would result in high efficacy of internalization of the nanospheres by the cancer cells via a HER-2-mediated endocytosis. Our results showed that this is indeed the case and that the high concentration of herceptin-functionalized magnetic nanospheres in the cancer cells offers great potential in cancer cell targeting and treatment. In addition, the magnetic property of these nanospheres was also critically investigated and the magnetization was found to be affected by the particles' environment. The combination of these cell-targeting magnetic carriers with chemotherapeutic agents will be highly advantageous for the preferential killing of cancer cells in hyperthermia treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2270-2279
Number of pages10
Issue number14
StatePublished - May 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
S.C. Wuang, K.G. Neoh and E.T. Kang acknowledge the financial support from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research under Project No.: UIUC/00/001 (S.C. Wuang) and the National University of Singapore (K.G. Neoh and E.T. Kang). D.W. Pack and D.E. Leckband acknowledge the financial support from NIH grant EB005181 and NSF BES0349915, respectively. TEM, XPS and SQUID measurements of the nanospheres were carried out in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory Central Facilities, University of Illinois, which are partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under grants DE-FG02-07ER46453 and DE-FG02-07ER46471. TEM of cells was performed in the Center for Microscopic Imaging at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois.


  • Cell targeting
  • HER-2-mediated endocytosis
  • Herceptin
  • Magnetization
  • Polypyrrole-FeO nanospheres

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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