Recently, 6-methoxyethylamino numonafide (MEAN) exhibited potent inhibition of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell growth and less systemic toxicity than amonafide. MEAN may serve as an ideal candidate for the treatment of HCC; however, liver-directed, selective infusion methods may be critical to maximize the MEAN dose delivered to the targeted tumors. This study describes the microfluidic fabrication of MEAN-eluting ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) nanocluster-containing alginate microspheres (MEAN-magnetic microspheres) intended for selective transcatheter delivery to HCC. The resulting drug delivery platform was mono-disperse, microsphere sizes were readily controlled based on channel flow rates during synthesis procedures, and drug release rates from the microspheres could be readily controlled with the introduction of USPIO nanoclusters. The MR relaxivity properties of the microspheres suggest the feasibility of in vivo imaging after administration, and these microspheres exhibited potent therapeutic effects significantly inhibiting cell growth inducing apoptosis in hepatoma cells.
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