Magnetite-Gold nanohybrids as ideal all-in-one platforms for theranostics
High-quality, 25 nm octahedral-shaped Fe3O4 magnetite nanocrystals are epitaxially grown on 9 nm Au seed nanoparticles using a modified wet-chemical synthesis. These Fe3O4-Au Janus nanoparticles exhibit bulk-like magnetic properties. Due to their high magnetization and octahedral shape, the hybrids show superior in vitro and in vivo T2 relaxivity for magnetic resonance imaging as compared to other types of Fe3O4-Au hybrids and commercial contrast agents. The nanoparticles provide two functional surfaces for theranostic applications. For the first time, Fe3O4-Au hybrids are conjugated with two fluorescent dyes or the combination of drug and dye allowing the simultaneous tracking of the nanoparticle vehicle and the drug cargo in vitro and in vivo. The delivery to tumors and payload release are demonstrated in real time by intravital microscopy. Replacing the dyes by cell-specific molecules and drugs makes the Fe3O4-Au hybrids a unique all-in-one platform for theranostics.