The diagnostic, interrogational, and therapeutic potential of molecular probes is rapidly being investigated and exploited across virtually every biomedical imaging modality. While many types of probes enhance contrast or delivery therapy by static localization to targeted sites, significant potential exists for utilizing dynamic molecular probes. Recent examples include molecular beacons, photoactivatable probes, or controlled switchable drug-releasing particles, to name a few. In this review, we describe a novel class of dynamic molecular probes that rely on the application and control of localized external magnetic fields. These magnetomotive molecular probes can provide optical image contrast through a modulated scattering signal, can interrogate the biomechanical properties of their viscoelastic microenvironment by tracking their underdamped oscillatory step-response to applied fields, and can potentially delivery therapy through nanometer-to-micrometer mechanical displacement or local hyperthermia. This class of magnetomotive agents includes not only magnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles, but also new magnetomotive microspheres or nanostructures with embedded iron-oxide agents. In vitro three-dimensional cell assays and in vivo targeting studies in animal tumor models have demonstrated the potential for multimodal detection and imaging, using magnetic resonance imaging for whole-body localization, and magnetomotive optical coherence tomography for high-resolution localization and imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications III
StatePublished - 2011
EventReporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications III - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2011Jan 26 2011

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


OtherReporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications III
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Cancer
  • Elastography
  • Hyperthermia
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Magnetomotive
  • Optical coherence tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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