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Applications of gold nanoparticles in cancer nanotechnology

Authors Weibo Cai, Ting Gao, Hao Hong, Jiangtao Sun

Published Date September 2008 Volume 2008:1 Pages 17—32

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/NSA.S3788

Published 19 September 2008

Weibo Cai1,2, Ting Gao3, Hao Hong1, Jiangtao Sun1

1Departments of Radiology and Medical Physics, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA; 2University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, Madison, Wisconsin, USA; 3Tyco Electronics Corporation, 306 Constitution Drive, Menlo Park, California, USA

Abstract: It has been almost 4 decades since the “war on cancer” was declared. It is now generally believed that personalized medicine is the future for cancer patient management. Possessing unprecedented potential for early detection, accurate diagnosis, and personalized treatment of cancer, nanoparticles have been extensively studied over the last decade. In this review, we will summarize the current state-of-the-art of gold nanoparticles in biomedical applications targeting cancer. Gold nanospheres, nanorods, nanoshells, nanocages, and surface enhanced Raman scattering nanoparticles will be discussed in detail regarding their uses in in vitro assays, ex vivo and in vivo imaging, cancer therapy, and drug delivery. Multifunctionality is the key feature of nanoparticle-based agents. Targeting ligands, imaging labels, therapeutic drugs, and other functionalities can all be integrated to allow for targeted molecular imaging and molecular therapy of cancer. Big strides have been made and many proof-of-principle studies have been successfully performed. The future looks brighter than ever yet many hurdles remain to be conquered. A multifunctional platform based on gold nanoparticles, with multiple receptor targeting, multimodality imaging, and multiple therapeutic entities, holds the promise for a “magic gold bullet” against cancer.

Keywords: gold nanoparticles, cancer, nanotechnology, optical imaging, nanomedicine, molecular therapy

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