Gold nanoparticles help cure prostate cancer

Nanoparticles react to infra-red lights that they transform into heat. This technique allows them to kill cancer cells without damaging others.

Scientists have dreamed for centuries of finding the method to turn any material into gold. In the United States, researchers have managed to turn gold into a drug. Nanoparticles of the precious metal can cure prostate cancer.

Avoid side effects

Prostatectomy is one of the operations to treat prostate cancer. It consists of removing the prostate and the seminal vesicles. Some men may experience uncomfortable side effects after surgery, including erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence. At the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, researchers are working on alternatives to this operation that have less risk of side effects. In this study, they tested the Aurolase® technology on humans after having validated it on cells in the laboratory and then used on mice.

Successful operation at 87.5%

16 men aged 58 to 79 participated in the research. All had prostate cancer but at different levels of severity. The used gold nanoparticles measure 150 nanometers and are composed of a silica core and a gold shell. When subjected to infra-red lights, they absorb energy to turn it into heat: this kills cancer cells without damaging the tissues surrounding the tumor. After the operation, participants were followed for 12 months. The Aurolase® technique was effective for 87.5% of them: the cancer cells were eradicated. The nanoparticles are naturally removed by the body after the operation, some may remain in the spleen or liver, but this has no impact on health.

Today, prostate cancer is the most common male cancer in France. It is also the deadliest after lung cancer.

Video: Gold Nanoparticles (February 2020).