Using gold as ‘trojan horse’ to treat brain cancer

  • Hindustan Times, Prasun Sonwalkar
  • Updated: Aug 13, 2014 23:59 IST

A smart technology which involves smuggling gold nanoparticles into brain cancer cells has proven highly effective in lab-based tests, a study conducted by experts at the University of Cambridge has found.

Dubbed ‘trojan horse’ treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, the technology involves using tiny nanoparticles of gold to kill tumour cells. It could eventually be used to treat glioblastoma multiforme, which is the most common and aggressive brain tumour in adults, and notoriously difficult to treat.

Research involved engineering nanostructures containing both gold and cisplatin, a conventional chemotherapy drug. These were released into tumour cells that had been taken from glioblastoma patients and grown in the lab, a university release said.

Once inside, these “nanospheres” were exposed to radiotherapy. This caused the gold to release electrons which damaged the cancer cell’s DNA and its overall structure, thereby enhancing the impact of the chemotherapy drug.

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