Scientists are searching potential solutions for cancer treatments as well as ways to avoid the side effects of anti-cancer agents, via targeted drug delivery. The aim of this research is to propose dual responsive beads based on sodium alginate (SA), methylcellulose (MC), and magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MIONs) for controlled release of 5-Fluorouracil (5-FU) as model drug. The beads were prepared by the dual crosslinking of SA and MC in the presence of MIONs. The structural, thermal, morphological, magnetic characteristics as well as the release profile of 5-FU were studied. The characterization results showed that the drug molecules and MIONs were well dispersed in the polymeric matrix. The cumulative release percentage was ca. 80% at pH=4.2 and 40% at pH=7.2 after 6 h. Thus, the sensitivity of beads on the pH value was verified. Moreover, the release profile exhibited reduction with an increase in the concentration of MIONs under an external magnetic field. The obtained results confirmed the dual sensitive release of 5-FU (i.e., PH/magnetic) that can be used for the targeted and controlled drug delivery systems. (C) 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.