Porous metal-organic-framework nanoscale carriers as a potential platform for drug delivery and imaging

Nat Mater. 2010 Feb;9(2):172-8. doi: 10.1038/nmat2608. Epub 2009 Dec 13.


In the domain of health, one important challenge is the efficient delivery of drugs in the body using non-toxic nanocarriers. Most of the existing carrier materials show poor drug loading (usually less than 5 wt% of the transported drug versus the carrier material) and/or rapid release of the proportion of the drug that is simply adsorbed (or anchored) at the external surface of the nanocarrier. In this context, porous hybrid solids, with the ability to tune their structures and porosities for better drug interactions and high loadings, are well suited to serve as nanocarriers for delivery and imaging applications. Here we show that specific non-toxic porous iron(III)-based metal-organic frameworks with engineered cores and surfaces, as well as imaging properties, function as superior nanocarriers for efficient controlled delivery of challenging antitumoural and retroviral drugs (that is, busulfan, azidothymidine triphosphate, doxorubicin or cidofovir) against cancer and AIDS. In addition to their high loadings, they also potentially associate therapeutics and diagnostics, thus opening the way for theranostics, or personalized patient treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Contrast Media / chemistry
  • Contrast Media / metabolism
  • Contrast Media / toxicity
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Drug Carriers / chemistry*
  • Drug Carriers / metabolism
  • Drug Carriers / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mice
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemistry*
  • Organometallic Compounds / metabolism
  • Organometallic Compounds / toxicity
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Rats


  • Contrast Media
  • Drug Carriers
  • Organometallic Compounds