Advances in nanofabrication techniques are opening up a wide array of highly sophisticated biomedical applications for smaller and smarter magnetic particles. Areas under investigation include targeted drug delivery, ultra-sensitive disease detection, gene therapy, high throughput genetic screening, biochemical sensing, and rapid toxicity cleansing. Each of these disparate applications hinges on the apparently benign relationship between magnetic fields and biological systems; field strengths required to manipulate nanoparticles have no deleterious impact on biological tissue and the biotic environment does not shield efforts to detect internal magnetism. This makes magnetic nanoparticles highly attractive as in vivo probes or in vitro tools to extract information on biochemical systems.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(04)00082-3