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J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008 Aug;60(8):977-85. doi: 10.1211/jpp.60.8.0005.

Radiotherapy enhancement with gold nanoparticles.

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Nanoprobes, Inc., 95 Horseblock Road, Yaphank, NY 11980-9710, USA.


Gold is an excellent absorber of X-rays. If tumours could be loaded with gold, this would lead to a higher dose to the cancerous tissue compared with the dose received by normal tissue during a radiotherapy treatment. Calculations indicate that this dose enhancement can be significant, even 200% or greater. In this paper, the physical and biological parameters affecting this enhancement are discussed. Gold nanoparticles have shown therapeutic efficacy in animal trials and these results are reviewed. Some 86% long-term (>1 year) cures of EMT-6 mouse mammary subcutaneous tumours was achieved with an intravenous injection of gold nanoparticles before irradiation with 250-kVp photons, whereas only 20% were cured with radiation alone. The clinical potential of this approach is also discussed.

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