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Cancers (Basel). 2010 Nov 18;2(4):1911-28. doi: 10.3390/cancers2041911.

A comparative study of two folate-conjugated gold nanoparticles for cancer nanotechnology applications.

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Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, 851 S. Morgan St. (MC 063), Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


We report a comparative study of synthesis, characteristics and in vitro tests of two folate-conjugated gold nanoparticles (AuNP) differing in linkers and AuNP sizes for selective targeting of folate-receptor positive cancerous cells. The linkers chosen were 4-aminothiophenol (4Atp) and 6-mercapto-1-hexanol (MH) with nanoconjugate products named Folate-4Atp-AuNP and Folate-MH-AuNP. We report the folate-receptor tissue distribution and its endocytosis for targeted nanotechnology. Comparison of the two nanoconjugates' syntheses and characterization is also reported, including materials and methods of synthesis, UV-visible absorption spectroscopic measurements, Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR) measurements, Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images and size distributions, X-ray diffraction data, elemental analyses and chemical stability comparison. In addition to the analytical characterization of the nanoconjugates, the cell lethality was measured in HeLa (high level of folate receptor expression) and MCF-7 (low level of folate receptor expression) cells. The nanoconjugates themselves, as well as the intense pulsed light (IPL) were not harmful to cell viability. However, upon stimulation of the folate targeted nanoconjugates with the IPL, ~98% cell killing was found in HeLa cells and only ~9% in MCF-7 cells after four hours incubation with the nanoconjugate. This demonstrates that folate targeting is effective in selecting for specific cell populations. Considering the various comparisons made, we conclude that Folate-4Atp-AuNP is superior to Folate-MH-AuNP for cancer therapy.

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