Dynamically Programmable Magnetic Fields for Controlled Movement of Cells Loaded with Iron Oxide Nanoparticles

A. Pai, P. Cao, E.E. White, B. Hong, T. Pailevanian, M. Wang, B. Badie, A. Hajimiri, and J.M. Berlin

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Cell-based therapies are becoming increasingly prominent in numerous medical contexts, particularly in regenerative medicine and the treatment of cancer. However, since the efficacy of the therapy is largely dependent on the concentration of therapeutic cells at the treatment area, a major challenge associated with cell-based therapies is the ability to move and localize therapeutic cells within the body. In this article, a technique based on dynamically programmable magnetic fields is successfully demonstrated to noninvasively aggregate therapeutic cells at a desired location. Various types of therapeutically relevant cells (neural stem cells, monocytes/macrophages, and chimeric antigen receptor T cells) are loaded with iron oxide nanoparticles and then focused at a particular site using externally controlled electromagnets. These experimental results serve as a readily scalable prototype for designing an apparatus that patients can wear to focus therapeutic cells at the anatomical sites needed for treatment.