In our previous coverage we’ve seen how researchers design gold nanoparticles for delivery into tumor cells, so these nanoagents can be energized by laser light to destroy their cellular hosts. The problem is that shining a laser is not practical for most cancers residing deep within the body. Researchers at Georgia Tech have now utilized gold nanoparticles as a tool to prevent cells from dividing and reproducing, potentially leading to an oncology tool that can put a full stop to the growth of a cancer.
From an abstract in Journal of The American Chemical Society:
By properly conjugating gold nanoparticles with specific peptides, we were successful in selectively transporting them to the nuclei of cancer cells. Confocal microscopy images of DNA double-strand breaks showed that localization of gold nanoparticles at the nucleus of a cancer cell damages the DNA. Gold nanoparticle dark-field imaging of live cells in real time revealed that the nuclear targeting of gold nanoparticles specifically induces cytokinesis arrest in cancer cells, where binucleate cell formation occurs after mitosis takes place. Flow cytometry results indicated that the failure to complete cell division led to programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells. These results show that gold nanoparticles localized at the nuclei of cancer cells have important implications in understanding the interaction between nanomaterials and living systems.
Press release with video of a cell unsuccessfully trying to divide: Using Gold Nanoparticles to Hit Cancer Where It Hurts …
Abstract in Journal of The American Chemical Society: Nuclear Targeting of Gold Nanoparticles in Cancer Cells Induces DNA Damage, Causing Cytokinesis Arrest and Apoptosis