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Science 336 (6081): 604-608

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Radio-Wave Heating of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles Can Regulate Plasma Glucose in Mice

Sarah A. Stanley,1 Jennifer E. Gagner,2 Shadi Damanpour,1 Mitsukuni Yoshida,3 Jonathan S. Dordick,4 Jeffrey M. Friedman1,5,*

Abstract: Medical applications of nanotechnology typically focus on drug delivery and biosensors. Here, we combine nanotechnology and bioengineering to demonstrate that nanoparticles can be used to remotely regulate protein production in vivo. We decorated a modified temperature-sensitive channel, TRPV1, with antibody-coated iron oxide nanoparticles that are heated in a low-frequency magnetic field. When local temperature rises, TRPV1 gates calcium to stimulate synthesis and release of bioengineered insulin driven by a Ca2+-sensitive promoter. Studying tumor xenografts expressing the bioengineered insulin gene, we show that exposure to radio waves stimulates insulin release from the tumors and lowers blood glucose in mice. We further show that cells can be engineered to synthesize genetically encoded ferritin nanoparticles and inducibly release insulin. These approaches provide a platform for using nanotechnology to activate cells.

1 Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.
2 Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Rensselaer Nanotechnology Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.
3 Elizabeth and Vincent Meyer Laboratory of Systems Cancer Biology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.
4 Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Department of Biology, Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.
5 Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, NY 10065, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: friedj{at}

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