A study published in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials describes for the first time the treatment of a human cancer in a mouse model using gold nanotubes. The group is able to control the length and tunable absorption of these gold nanoparticles in the near-infrared (NIR) region using a length-controlled synthesis method. They then apply a coating of poly(sodium 4-styrenesulfonate) (PSS) to allow the nanoparticles to maintain colloidal properties while maintaining low cytotoxicity.
The study was led by Dr. Sunjie Ye from the University of Leeds’ School of Physics and Astronomy, and also the Leeds Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Sciences. She and her team demonstrated potential applicability for treating cancer with photothermal ablation and using these gold nanotubes as a contrast agent for a new type of imaging technique called ‘multispectral optoacoustic tomography’ (MSOT). By using a pulsed laser beam, the scientists were able to raise the temperature of the nanoparticles very quickly, high enough to destroy cancer cells. Furthermore, they were also able to adjust the brightness of the laser pulse so that the nanoparticles could be used as a contrast agent.
The nanotubes were injected intravenously into the mouse model, and the particles were observed to be excreted. In the future, the nanotubes could be tumor targeting and the hollow core could be used to hold therapeutic agents, which would pave the way towards greater personalized medicine with low toxicity levels.
The University of Leeds: Gold Nanotubes Lauch a Three-Pronged Attack on Cancer Cells
Study in Advanced Functional Materials: Engineering Gold Nanotubes with Controlled Length and Near-Infrared Absorption for Theranostic Applications