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Researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia report in the Journal of Materials Chemistry that chemicals in tea are the best yet discovered to make consistent, biologically safe gold nanoparticles. More importantly, these gold nanoparticles show promising anticancer properties.
The research team, headed by Kattesh V. Katti, Ph.D., M.Sc.Ed., principal investigator of the National Cancer Institute-funded Hybrid Nanoparticles in Imaging and Therapy of Prostate Cancer Platform Partnership, literally brewed a fresh pot of Darjeeling tea and added gold salts, which get reduced by phytochemicals already known for their health benefits. Coincidentally, the tea chemicals that regulate the size of these nanoparticles also increase their likelihood of being taken into breast and prostate cancer cells, improving their potential as targeted anticancer drugs. The nanoparticles are also highly stable in biological fluids.
Dr. Katti says that discovering tea's nontoxic formation of nanoparticles is of paramount importance for medical and technological applications. He explains that gold nanoparticles have many potential medicinal and technological uses, such as targeted anticancer drugs, but currently their synthesis needs toxic reagents that make them unsuitable for use in the body. The natural chemicals used in this new method are harmless in the body, and the reaction produces no toxic byproducts, only some slightly unusual tasting cold tea.
About National Cancer Institute
To help meet the goal of reducing the burden of cancer, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is engaged in efforts to harness the power of nanotechnology to radically change the way we diagnose, treat and prevent cancer.
The NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer is a comprehensive, systematized initiative encompassing the public and private sectors, designed to accelerate the application of the best capabilities of nanotechnology to cancer.
Currently, scientists are limited in their ability to turn promising molecular discoveries into benefits for cancer patients. Nanotechnology can provide the technical power and tools that will enable those developing new diagnostics, therapeutics, and preventives to keep pace with today’s explosion in knowledge.
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