For the first time gold nanotubes was used for the treatment of a human cancer in a mouse model. The study published in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials.
The length and tunable absorption of these gold nanoparticles in the near-infrared (NIR) region was controlled using a length-controlled synthesis method. Then a coating of poly sodium 4 -styrenesulfonate (PSS) was applied to allow the nanoparticles to maintain colloidal properties while maintaining low cytotoxicity.
The study was led by Dr. Sunjie Ye and her team from the University of Leeds' School of Physics and Astronomy, and the Leeds Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Sciences demonstrated potential applicability for treating cancer with photothermal ablation and used gold nanotubes as a contrast agent for a new type of imaging technique called 'multispectral optoacoustic tomography' (MSOT).
The scientists were able to raise the temperature of the nanoparticles very quickly, high enough to destroy cancer cells by the use of pulsed laser beam. Furthermore, they were also able to adjust the brightness of the laser pulse so that the nanoparticles could be used as a contrast agent.
The nanotubes were injected intravenously into the mouse model, and the particles were observed to be excreted. In the future, the nanotubes could be tumor targeting and the hollow core could be used to hold therapeutic agents, which would pave the way towards greater personalized medicine with low toxicity levels.