Gold nanoparticles so amazingly tiny they go unobserved by the human eye. Yet, these particles are present in our daily lives such as in electronics, beauty products and even in medications. However, these wonderful tiny miracles are made with toxic chemicals. The nanotechnology industry is expected to skyrocket in producing these little wonders that the elimination of toxins is needed. How is the possible? It appears that the answer to that question may just have been found.
Cinnamon heals nanoparticles
University of Missouri researchers had set about the task of finding a safer recipe for to help heal the gold nanoparticles.
Dr. Kattesh Katti, MU’s Curators Professor of Radiology and Physics in the School of Medicine and College of Art and Sciences, Director of Caner Nanotechnology Platform and holds an esteemed title as one of the fathers of “green technology”, is leader of this study.
Researchers have discovered that the active chemicals contained in cinnamon become released with the presence of nanoparticles. When these chemicals(phytochemicals) become blended with gold nanoparticles they can be used for cancer treatment.
Dr. Katti states not only are their gold nanoparticles ecologically and biologically friendly, they are also biologically active against cancer cells.
Researchers combined gold salts with cinnamon while stirring this mix in water in order to synthesize the gold nanoparticles. This new process does not use any electricity or toxic compounds. The procedure they have developed is totally non-toxic. Dr. Katti states no chemicals get used in the production of gold nanoparticles with the exception of gold salts. This new process is green. From the work they have done in green nanotechnology it is definite that cinnamon along with other spices and herbs leaves and seeds can serve as a storage of phytochemicals and also is capable of converting metals into nanoparticles.
Dr. Katti, editor of The International Journal of Green Nanotechnology mentions that as more uses for nanoparticles are developed, scientists must create ways to associate nanotechnology and green science.
Gold nanoparticles detecting cancer
Heat is a very compelling device in fighting tumor cells. However, its hard to heat a patients tumor cells without producing damage to any close by tissues.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) researchers had developed these tiny gold nanoparticles so they could close in on tumors and then by absorption of energy from near infrared lighting, giving off heat eliminate tumors with very few side effects.
These particular gold particles called gold nanorods, just may be able to diagnose and treat tumors. Geoffrey von Maltzahn, MIT graduate student had developed these particles along with Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, professor at Harvard-MIT and also member of David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT.
Maltzahn notes that in chemotherapy treatment, 99% of the medications used usually do not reach the tumor. In the opposite direction, nanorods have the ability to specifically concentrate heat on the tumors.
Elimination of tumors
Gold nanoparticles can absorb various light frequencies depending on their shape. Rod shaped particles like the one developed can absorb light at near infrared frequencies, the light heats the rod and passes through human tissue without causing any damage.
The study had reported that tumors in mice which received an intravenous injection of nanorods along with infrared laser treatment vanished with fifteen days. The mice had lived for three months with no signs of recurrence until the end of the study.
Upon injection of nanorods they distribute regularly throughout the blood stream. The researchers had created a polymer coating for the particles which lets them live in the blood stream longer than gold nanoparticles.
When creating these particles researchers had taken advantage knowledge that blood vessels located near tumors contain tiny pores just big enough which allow nanorods to enter. The nanorods gather in the tumors and in just three days, the liver and spleen clear away those that have not reached the tumor.
In just one single exposure to a close by infrared laser, the nanorods heat up to 70 degrees Celsius,which is hot enough to eliminate tumors. Also, by heating them lower temperature makes tumor cells weak enough to heighten the strength of present chemotherapy treatments, which raises the likelihood of using nanorods as a supplement to treatments.
Nanorods discover tumor
Due to their ability of homing it also makes them a hopeful device for diagnosing tumors. After the particles are injected, they have the ability to be imaged through a technique called Raman scattering. Tissues which light up other than the spleen and liver, could contain an invasive tumor.
Researchers had shown that they can heighten the nanorods imaging capabilities with adding molecules which absorb close infrared light to their surface. Due to enhancing their surface, extremely low concentrations of nanorods can be detected.
In addition they by coating the nanorods with various kinds of light scattering molecules, they can be developed to instantaneously collect multiple types of information besides where the tumor is, if it is at risk of invading other tissue, if it is primary or secondary tumor and where it originated.
Before these nanorods may be used in humans, clinical trails are required and have FDA approval, which according to researchers will take several years.
Nano-shells and breast cancer
Scientist have been creating a nano-shell to be used to fight breast cancer. Researchers have tested the use of gold shards to heat up and eliminate the dangerous cells which aide tumors to grow.
By the use of lasers to heat tiny gold nano-shells injected into breast cancer tissue which was taken from humans and mice. Its main concentration for this technique to fight cancer stem cells. By combining this heating, called hyperthermia and with using radiotherapy decreased the stem cells growth as in to comparison of just using radiotherapy.
Even though this treatment is hopeful it is awhile before it can be a useable treatment for women with breast cancer. This treatment also before it can be tested in humans it has to go through the normal round of pre-clinical trails to prove its safety and effectiveness.
This was an early-stage laboratory study which had used mice and human breast cancer cells to investigate the behavior of breast cancer cells when they are exposed to both radiotherapy and hyperthermia.
Remaining cancer cells are known to be immune to conventional cancer treatments and being a kind of stem cell and can regenerate themselves over enduring time lengths. This indicates they could be the reason for breast cancer recurring or spreading to other areas in the body even after years have gone by after treatment.
Researchers had used two models in testing. The models used specifically cultured breast cancer tumors either grown in genetically engineered mice or grown as tissue taken from human breast cancer.
For experiment purposes they had chosen a cancer that is more aggressive and less responsive to conventional treatments.
Researchers grew populations of cancer stem cells to test the outcomes of radiation treatment both alone and in combination with hyperthermia.
Heat treatment was done using gold nano-shells. These are developed to come to rest at near by cancer cells, where then they can be heated to 42 degree Celsius and sending the heat to the cancer cells to eliminate them.
One group of cells had been injected with gold nano-shells, treated with radiotherapy, then right away given twenty minutes of heat treatment. Other groups of cells received radiotherapy only, heat treatment only and mock treatment(shells were not heated).
To find out if the heat treatment had any affect on the behavior of the tumors, the cells had been placed into mice and the amount of cells, tumor size and cancer markers had been measured up to 96 hours after treatment.
The cancer cells that had been treated with heat after radiotherapy, tumor size was decreased and the percentage of stem cells did not increase.
Two days after treatment, the tumor cells that had been treated with radiation and heat had less of a chance of reproducing than those cells only receiving radiotherapy.
It seems that breast cancer cells which use localized heat treatment can reduce breast cancer stem cells that are resistant to radiotherapy. At the time of the study this trail was scheduled to be tried in treatment of head and neck cancers. It may be able to provide a better analysis of its potential use as a treatment.
Gold is now showing its potential in science to be used to develop medical treatments especially concerning the area of effective cancer treatments.
MIT Education News