The lack of efficient targeting strategies poses significant limitations on the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic treatments. This issue also affects drug-loaded nanocarriers, reducing nanoparticles cancer cell uptake. We report on the fabrication and in vitro characterization of doxorubicin-loaded magnetic liposomes for localized treatment of liver malignancies. Colloidal stability, superparamagnetic behavior and efficient drug loading of our formulation were demonstrated. The application of an external magnetic field guaranteed enhanced nanocarriers cell uptake under cell medium flow in correspondence of a specific area, as we reported through in vitro investigation. A numerical model was used to validate experimental data of magnetic targeting, proving the possibility of accurately describing the targeting strategy and predict liposomes accumulation under different environmental conditions. Finally, in vitro studies on HepG2 cancer cells confirmed the cytotoxicity of drug-loaded magnetic liposomes, with cell viability reduction of about 50% and 80% after 24 h and 72 h of incubation, respectively. Conversely, plain nanocarriers showed no anti-proliferative effects, confirming the formulation safety. Overall, these results demonstrated significant targeting efficiency and anticancer activity of our nanocarriers and superparamagnetic nanoparticles entrapment could envision the theranostic potential of the formulation. The proposed magnetic targeting study could represent a valid tool for pre-clinical investigation regarding the effectiveness of magnetic drug targeting.
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