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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Scientists use gold to destroy tumours

Charlie Cooper

Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30

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Thinkstock Images

Scientists have destroyed brain tumour cells by combining nanotechnology with existing cancer drugs, in a pioneering technique that could one day lead to treatment for some of the most aggressive forms of cancer.

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The technique, dubbed 'Trojan horse' by the Cambridge scientists who devised it, delivers nanoparticles that are a mix of gold and cisplatin - a common chemotherapy drug - into the cells of cancer tumours.

When exposed to radiotherapy, the gold releases an electron which damages the DNA of the cancer cell, leaving it vulnerable to attack by the cancer drug.

Researchers said that the process had been so successful that cell cultures used in the lab showed no signs of regrowth after 20 days, suggesting that the tumour cells had been destroyed.

So far it has only been used on cells grown in the lab from patients with glioblastoma multiforme - the commonest and most aggressive form of brain tumour, where cancer cells become enmeshed with healthy ones, making surgery near impossible. Gold was used because it is a safe material that can be easily manipulated into the size and shape of particle required. (© Independent News Service)

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