Polymeric layer-by-layer microcapsules containing iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles exposed to breast cancer cells: A viability study using tetrazolium-based (MTT) and calcein-AM assays

M. Ashcroft, R. Swift, N. Habibi
Micro Nano Technology Education Center,
United States

Keywords: Nanotechnology, Microcapsules, Magnetic Nanoparticles


Although chemotherapy is an essential part of cancer treatment, more than 50% of patients with breast cancer do not benefit from it because cancer cells develop a resistance to drugs. Microcapsules infused with iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized and then MTT and Live/Dead Cell assays were performed to determine cell viability on a strain of cancer cells that have drug resistance properties. Microcapsules were synthesized by wrapping organic polymers around a calcium core. Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles were infused within the wrapping with subsequent removal of calcium from the core. The hollow microcapsules were imaged using a scanning electron microscope to visualize microcapsules. Energy-dispersive X-Ray elemental analysis showed high iron concentration and low amounts of calcium within the microcapsule. Cell viability assays was performed on cultured drug resistant breast cancer cells MDA-MB-231. The MTT assay determined that adding 20 µl of microcapsule solution to 100 µl of cell culture suspension preserves 90% cell viability. A second cell viability exam, the Live/Dead Cell assay, which relies on ester hydrolysis of calcein-AM within the cell was then used to obtain a fluorescent image of live and dead cells. Cell viability is a first step towards a targeted delivery of microcapsules infused with doxorubicin to cells for potential use as a dual mode cancer medicine. This combination of therapies from magnetic energy from iron oxide nanoparticles and the doxorubicin core could overcome the natural drug resistance that cancer cells develop over time, providing a more effective and efficient cancer fighting agent.