Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Elizabeth Gillies

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Sohrab Rohani

Joint Supervisor


Cancer has been, and still remains, one of the most complicated diseases to treat. As a result of the side effects experienced from current cancer treatment methods, there has been a growing interest in the development of targeted drug delivery systems that can destroy cancer cells, but render healthy tissue unharmed. To address this challenge, magnetite nanoaggregates were synthesized through the precipitation of iron oxide in the presence of polymers, conjugated with folic acid for folate targeting, and loaded with curcumin for cancer treatment. The resulting magnetite nanoparticles were 10 – 20 nm in size and the aggregates formed varied in size depending on the ratio of polymers present. Furthermore, the ratio of polymers on the particle surfaces, in addition to the presence of folic acid, played a major role in sustaining curcumin release. In vitro studies with MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells revealed that the particles without curcumin exhibited low cytotoxicity up to 2 mg/mL in both cells lines. However, in the presence of curcumin, toxicity to MDA-MB-468 cells was observed. In addition, folic acid functionalized particles showed enhanced uptake in MDA-MB-468 cells, which express elevated levels of the folic acid receptor, in comparison to non-targeted particles, suggesting the possibility of selective delivery towards cancer cells.

Included in

Biomaterials Commons