An in silico model of the capturing of magnetic nanoparticles in tumour spheroids in the presence of flow

Barbara Wirthl, Christina Janko, Stefan Lyer, Bernhard A. Schrefler, Christoph Alexiou, Wolfgang A. Wall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


One of the main challenges in improving the efficacy of conventional chemotherapeutic drugs is that they do not reach the cancer cells at sufficiently high doses while at the same time affecting healthy tissue and causing significant side effects and suffering in cancer patients. To overcome this deficiency, magnetic nanoparticles as transporter systems have emerged as a promising approach to achieve more specific tumour targeting. Drug-loaded magnetic nanoparticles can be directed to the target tissue by applying an external magnetic field. However, the magnetic forces exerted on the nanoparticles fall off rapidly with distance, making the tumour targeting challenging, even more so in the presence of flowing blood or interstitial fluid. We therefore present a computational model of the capturing of magnetic nanoparticles in a test setup: our model includes the flow around the tumour, the magnetic forces that guide the nanoparticles, and the transport within the tumour. We show how a model for the transport of magnetic nanoparticles in an external magnetic field can be integrated with a multiphase tumour model based on the theory of porous media. Our approach based on the underlying physical mechanisms can provide crucial insights into mechanisms that cannot be studied conclusively in experimental research alone. Such a computational model enables an efficient and systematic exploration of the nanoparticle design space, first in a controlled test setup and then in more complex in vivo scenarios. As an effective tool for minimising costly trial-and-error design methods, it expedites translation into clinical practice to improve therapeutic outcomes and limit adverse effects for cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
Pages (from-to)1
JournalBiomedical Microdevices
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 27 2023


  • Cylindrical permanent magnet
  • Magnetic drug targeting
  • Magnetic nanoparticles
  • Multiphase porous media
  • Tumour-growth model
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nanoparticles
  • Humans
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drug Delivery Systems/methods
  • Magnetite Nanoparticles
  • Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'An in silico model of the capturing of magnetic nanoparticles in tumour spheroids in the presence of flow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this