The efficient treatment of cancer using gold-based nanoparticles of various shapes and sizes has been reviewed and presented in the study published in the MDPI journal Nanomaterials.
Study: Engineering Gold Nanostructures for Cancer Treatment: Spherical Nanoparticles, Nanorods, and Atomically Precise Nanoclusters. Image Credit: Buravleva stock/Shutterstock.com
Nanotechnology and Its Role in Cancer Treatment
Cancer is considered a global health issue and is among the top causes of death. Substantial work has been done over the last twenty years to develop an effective treatment for cancer, but just a few achievements have been realized. As a result, there is a considerable need for innovative cancer diagnosis and treatment options.
With the introduction and rise of nanoscience, there has been an unprecedented increase in the study and utilization of nanotechnology in cancer therapy, providing optimism that the drawbacks of employing traditional cancer medicines may be avoided.
Gold Nanoparticles – Fighting Cancer One Cell at A Time
Gold-based nanostructures have shown significant potential as new agents in cancer therapy because of characteristics like adjustable optical characteristics, readily functionalized outer layer, and outstanding biological compatibility. Tiny gold nanoparticles (NPs), for example, may passively amass and persist at the tumor's location via their permeation and retention properties.
Adding to this, gold NP surfaces may be easily functionalized with bioactive moieties including the likes of peptides, monoclonal antibodies, proteins, and small therapeutic molecules to eliminate uptake.
What Does Previous Research Say?
Previous research has demonstrated that the architecture of gold NPs may play a significant role in cancer therapy. In a preliminary comparison of gold nanorods, nano-hexapods, and nanocages for light-based thermal cancer therapy, gold nanohexapods outperformed both in contrast-enhanced diagnosis and light-based thermal annihilation of cancer cells.
In another study, the radio-sensitization inﬂuence of three types of gold-based nanostructures (gold NPs, gold nanorods (NRs), gold nanospikes (NSs)) was evaluated using X-rays.
It was discovered that the cellular internalization effectiveness was greatest for gold nanoparticles, followed by gold nanospikes and gold nanorods, respectively.
Different Gold Nanostructures and Their Advantages
Gold-based nanostructures are of different types. Among these different types, the three main types utilized for cancer therapy are spherical gold NPs, gold nanoclusters (NCs), and gold NRs. These are used based primarily on their size and morphological characteristics, as well as their recognition for utilization in biomedical study.
Importantly, the three gold-based nanostructures have certain similar but distinct benefits for cancer treatment, some of which have already been reported. When illuminated, spherical gold NPs and gold NRs exhibit localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR), where LSPR is linked to free electron oscillations.
LSPR is extremely reactive to the surface size, shape, capping agent, and index of refraction. This makes the optical-based absorption of gold NPs and NRs range from the visible spectrum to near-infrared.
For gold-based NCs, such LSPR vanishes, leaving just distinct absorbance peaks. Furthermore, gold NCs with molecular purity, precise composition, and well-defined structure may be manufactured, providing an ideal platform for developing structure–functionality connections in biomedical research.
The Basis of Current Research
The recent success in using spherical gold NPs, gold NRs, and gold NCs for cancer therapy is highlighted in this study. The primary parameters that might impact performance, such as size, shape, optical ability, stability, surface ligand, and biological compatibility, have also been studied.
Owing to the fact that gold-based nanostructures for the treatment of cancer are covered in depth in previous research, the study exclusively concentrated on sphere-shaped gold NPs, gold NRs, and gold NCs in regards to the form of gold-based nanostructures.
The study solely targeted tumors with a high incidence, including breast, skin, colon, and liver cancer. Furthermore, the efforts of the study focused on light-based thermal therapy, drug delivery system, cell imaging, and biological sensing for cancer treatment.
Results of the Study
The team concluded that gold-based nanostructures, particularly spherical gold NPs, gold NRs, and gold NCs, are promising cancer therapy prospects.
The team also stated that gold-based nanostructures are very compelling for cancer diagnosis and therapy due to their remarkable optical characteristics, effortless surface alteration, low cytotoxicity, exceptional biological compatibility, and outstanding stability.
It was highlighted that despite a few limitations and drawbacks, that team believes that further research efforts will propel gold-based nanostructures toward meaningful medical applications.
He, W., Ma, G., Shen, Q., & Tang, Z. (2022). Engineering Gold Nanostructures for Cancer Treatment: Spherical Nanoparticles, Nanorods, and Atomically Precise Nanoclusters. Nanomaterials. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2079-4991/12/10/1738