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Posted: April 29, 2008
Can gold help cure cancer?
(Nanowerk News) Can gold be used in curing cancer? A report that appeared in The Washington Post says gold particles can help fight cancer.
The report said a biotech company in the United States has used nanotechnology to develop a gold nanoparticle capable of acting like "a fighter jet in the body" in order to deliver a "cancer smart-bomb" to diseased cells, according to reports.
it said CytImmune Sciences "audacious" work could provide doctors with a "powerful new weapon" in the fight against cancer.
The company has been working on developing gold nanoparticles to deliver drugs for around 12 years.
Its founder Lawrence Tamarkin - who set up the firm with his own money - wanted to develop a cancer treatment that targets only the diseased cells, rather than all the cells in an affected area.
As a result, his team developed the "fighter jet" gold nanoparticles, which deliver a protein called tumour necrosis factor (TNF) to cancerous cells.
TNF is, however, extremely toxic and can be very dangerous if it is not targeted precisely. To try to get around this, Mr Tamarkin's scientists have since modified the nanoparticles with a molecule that makes them "invisible" to the immune system, thereby protecting healthy tissue.
The company is now working with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop trials of the gold nanoparticles in conjunction with tradition chemotherapy.