Cairo University

MTPR Journal


Nanotechnology Enables Hot Gold Nanorods to Kill Cancer Cells and to Stop Alive Sick Cells from Migrating to other Places in the Body

M. A. El-Sayed
School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0400

Vol./Issue: 19 , id: 252

Cancer kills many people after several years of suffering and after using a great deal of different unsuccessful treatments, like surgery, chemical and/or radiation treatments. The field of Nanotechnology showed us how different materials acquire so many different properties when their size is reduced to the nanometer scale. Gold nanoparticles having rod shape of nanometer size and a length: width ratio of 3:1 can absorb near infrared light (to which our body is transparent) and convert it into heat. If solution containing gold nanorods is injected into a cancer lump and exposed to near infrared light, the hot solution (resulting from the gold nanorods upon absorbing the near infra-red light) melts the cancer cells leading to their death. This was demonstrated by our group in the photo-thermal destruction and destroying cancer cells in solution and in cancer lumps in small and large animals.1-5 Normally, some of the cancer cells that do not die are able to migrate to other parts of the body away from the location of their initial formation spot until they are located in a sensitive part of the body that leads to the cancer patient death. Thus, most of the cancer patients die from cancer after the cancer cells migrate by a process called metastasis to a more sensitive part of the body. Very recently, however, we discovered 5-6 that in our photo-thermal treatment, while treating cancer cells in the first cancer location with hot gold nano-rods, the cancer cell legs and arms and the motion proteins are photo-thermally destroyed. This makes it difficult for the cancer cells to migrate to a new more important functional locations in the body. This treatment is thus effective in stopping cancer cell migration through the patient body and increases the success rate of the patient’s complete recovery.

References 1.El-Sayed, I. H.; Huang, X.; El-Sayed, M. A., Selective laser photo-thermal therapy of epithelial carcinoma using anti-EGFR antibody conjugated gold nanoparticles. Cancer letters 2006,239 (1), 129-135.
2.Dickerson, E. B.; Dreaden, E. C.; Huang, X.; El-Sayed, I. H.; Chu, H.; Pushpanketh, S.; McDonald, J. F.; El-Sayed, M. A., Gold nanorod assisted near-infrared plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) of squamous cell carcinoma in mice. Cancer letters 2008,269 (1), 57-66.
3.Ali, M. R. K.; Rahman, M. A.; Wu, Y.; Han, T.; Peng, X.; Mackey, M. A.; Wang, D.; Shin, H. J.; Chen, Z. G.; Xiao, H.; Wu, R.; Tang, Y.; Shin, D. M.; El-Sayed, M. A., Efficacy, long-term toxicity, and mechanistic studies of gold nanorods photothermal therapy of cancer in xenograft mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017.
4.Ali, M. R. K.; Ibrahim, I. M.; Ali, H. R.; Selim, S. A.; El-Sayed, M. A., Treatment of natural mammary gland tumors in canines and felines using gold nanorods-assisted plasmonic photothermal therapy to induce tumor apoptosis. International Journal of Nanomedicine 2016,11, 4849-4863.
5.Ali, M. R. K.; Wu, Y.; Tang, Y.; Xiao, H.; Chen, K.; Han, T.; Fang, N.; Wu, R.; El-Sayed, M. A., Targeting cancer cell integrins using gold nanorods in photothermal therapy inhibits migration through affecting cytoskeletal proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017,114 (28), E5655-E5663.
6.Ali, M. R. K.; Wu, Y.; Ghosh, D.; Do, B. H.; Chen, K.; Dawson, M. R.; Fang, N.; Sulchek, T. A.; El- Sayed, M. A., Nuclear Membrane-Targeted Gold Nanoparticles Inhibit Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion. ACS Nano 2017. 1936-0851.