SALT LAKE CITY, UT--A new metal nanostructure developed by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has already shown promise in cancer therapy studies and could be used for chemical and biological sensors and other applications as well.
The hollow gold nanospheres developed in the laboratory of Jin Zhang, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCSC, have a unique set of properties, including strong, narrow, and tunable absorption of light. Zhang is collaborating with researchers at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, who have used the new nanostructures to target tumors for photothermal cancer therapy. They reported good results from preclinical studies earlier this year (Clinical Cancer Research, February 1, 2009).
Zhang will describe his lab's work on the hollow gold nanospheres in a talk on Sunday, March 22, at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City.
"What makes this structure special is the combination of the spherical shape, the small size, and the strong absorption in visible and near infrared light," Zhang said. "The absorption is not only strong, it is also narrow and tunable. All of these properties are important for cancer treatment."
Zhang's lab is able to control the synthesis of the hollow gold nanospheres to produce particles with consistent size and optical properties. The hollow particles can be made in sizes ranging from 20 to 70 nanometers in diameter, which is an ideal range for biological applications that require particles to be incorporated into living cells. The optical properties can be tuned by varying the particle size and wall thickness.
In the cancer studies, led by Chun Li of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, researchers attached a short peptide to the nanospheres that enabled the particles to bind to tumor cells. After injecting the nanospheres into mice with melanoma, the researchers irradiated the animals'
|Contact: Tim Stephens|
University of California - Santa Cruz