Gold nanoparticles bring scientists closer to a treatment for cancer

Jul 07, 2011

Scientists at the University of Southampton have developed smart nanomaterials, which can disrupt the blood supply to cancerous tumours.

The team of researchers, led by Physics lecturer Dr Antonios Kanaras, showed that a small dose of gold nanoparticles can activate or inhibit genes that are involved in angiogenesis - a complex process responsible for the supply of oxygen and nutrients to most .

"The peptide-functionalised gold nanoparticles that we synthesised are very effective in the deliberate activation or inhibition of angiogenic genes," said Dr Kanaras.

The team went a step further to control the degree of damage to the endothelial cells using laser illumination. Endothelial cells construct the interior of blood vessels and play a pivotal role in angiogenesis.

The researchers also found that the could be used as effective tools in cellular nanosurgery.

Dr Kanaras adds: "We have found that can have a dual role in cellular manipulation. Applying , we can use the nanoparticles either to destroy , as a measure to cut the blood supply to tumours, or to deliberately open up the cellular membrane in order to deliver a drug efficiently."

The researchers have published two related papers with another one submitted for publication and four more planned throughout this year. Their major target is to develop a complete nanotechnology toolkit to manipulate angiogenesis.

Explore further: New cancer-hunting 'nano-robots' to seek and destroy tumours

More information: NanoLett. 2011, 11 (3), 1358 and Small 2011, 7, No. 3, 388.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Innovative method to starve tumors

Feb 11, 2009

The development of cancerous tumours is highly dependent on the nutrients the tumours receive through the blood. The team of Dr. Janusz Rak, of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) at the Montreal ...

Recommended for you

Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle

Aug 26, 2014

Kit Lam and colleagues from UC Davis and other institutions have created dynamic nanoparticles (NPs) that could provide an arsenal of applications to diagnose and treat cancer. Built on an easy-to-make polymer, these particles ...

Tissue regeneration using anti-inflammatory nanomolecules

Aug 22, 2014

Anyone who has suffered an injury can probably remember the after-effects, including pain, swelling or redness. These are signs that the body is fighting back against the injury. When tissue in the body is damaged, biological ...

Cut flowers last longer with silver nanotechnology

Aug 21, 2014

Once cut and dunked in a vase of water, flowers are susceptible to bacterial growth that shortens the length of time one has to enjoy the blooms. A few silver nanoparticles sprinkled into the water, might be the answer to ...

User comments : 0