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Home > Press > Radioactive Gold Nanoparticles Destroy Prostate Tumors, Leaving Healthy Tissue Untouched

Abstract:
One of the promises of nanoparticles as delivery agents for cancer therapeutics is that they will attack tumors while sparing healthy tissue from the damage normally associated with today's anticancer therapies. That promise is closer to realization thanks to the results of a study in which tumor-bearing mice were treated with a single dose of radioactive gold nanoparticles.

Radioactive Gold Nanoparticles Destroy Prostate Tumors, Leaving Healthy Tissue Untouched

Bethesda, MD | Posted on April 20th, 2010

The results of this study, which was led by Kattesh Katti and Raghuraman Kannan, both of the University of Missouri at Colombia, were published in the journal Nanomedicine. Dr. Katti is the principle investigator of the Hybrid Nanoparticles in Imaging and Therapy of Prostate Cancer project, a National Cancer Institute Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnership.

For this study, Dr. Katti's research group prepared their gold nanoparticles using the radioactive isotope gold-198. They then coated the resulting nanoparticles with gum Arabic glycoprotein to create biocompatible nanoparticles capable of escaping the blood stream and accumulating in tumors. Studies in mice showed that these nanoparticles, when injected into the blood stream, only accumulate in implanted human prostate tumors, with minimal or no leakage of radioactivity into other organs.

Tumor-bearing animals injected with a single dose of the nanoparticles were followed for three weeks. At the end of that time, tumor volume in the treated animals was 82% smaller compared to tumors in animals that received non-radioactive nanoparticles coated with gum Arabic glycoprotein. In addition, the treated animals did not lose weight during the three-week period, while the untreated animals experienced significant weight loss. The researchers also examined various blood cells for signs of radiation damage and found none, an encouraging sign that these nanoparticles are only toxic to tumors.

This work, which is detailed in a paper titled, "Radioactive gold nanoparticles in cancer therapy: therapeutic efficacy studies of GA-198AuNP nanoconstruct in prostate tumor-bearing mice," was supported in part by the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, a comprehensive initiative designed to accelerate the application of nanotechnology to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. An abstract of this paper is available at the journal's Web site.

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About NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer
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.

For more information, please click here

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