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Gold Nanoparticles Activate and Hamper Angiogenic Genes Effectively

The University of Southampton scientists have created new nanomaterials, which have the capability to block the blood flow to cancerous tumors.

A schematic illustration of different types of gold nanoparticles used in the experiments.

Under the guidance of Dr Antonios Kanaras, a team of researchers demonstrated that a minute dosage of gold nanoparticles can trigger or hamper the growth of genes responsible for angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is a complicated process that plays a major role in supplying nutrients and oxygen to various cancer types.

Dr Kanaras stated that the gold nanoparticles synthesized with peptide function are capable of activating or hindering angiogenic genes deliberately. The team could also manage the intensity of damage done to the endothelial cells by illuminating with laser. Endothelial cells help in the construction of the interior walls of blood vessels and play a major role in angiogenesis. The researchers also discovered that the gold nanoparticles could be effective even in cellular nanosurgery.

Dr Kanaras mentioned that gold nanoparticles will serve dual purposes in manipulation of cells. Scientists applied laser irradiation to direct the nanoparticles either to cause damage to endothelial cells, to stop the blood flow to tumors, or to purposely open the cellular membrane to ensure efficient drug transportation. The researchers are planning to develop a full nanotechnology toolkit to control angiogenesis.

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