Gold nanoparticles, were encased in a chemical by the research team. The team are hopeful the technique could be used to develop human treatments. Dr Asier Unciti-Broceta, from Cancer Research UK’s Edinburgh centre, said: “We have discovered new properties of gold that were previously unknown and our findings suggest that the metal could be used to release drugs inside tumors very safely. The action of gold in this case is to catalyze chemical reactions.
The hope is to be used to precisely targeting diseased cells without damaging healthy tissue. However, it’s a long way before this can be used on patients. The researchers think this could help improve treatment for brain tumors and other hard-to-treat cancers. Gold nanoparticles are also are being investigated as drug carriers, photothermal agents, contrast agents and radiosensitisers. Nanoparticles, according to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard definition, are particles with lengths that range from 1 to 100 nm in two or three dimensions. Gold nanoparticles are between the most studied. In this study, the gold particles are injected intravenously near the known cancer and they rapidly spread and are incorporated throughout the cancerous region.