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WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol
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Therapeutic gold, silver, and platinum nanoparticles

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There are an abundance of nanoparticle technologies being developed for use as part of therapeutic strategies. This review focuses on a narrow class of metal nanoparticles that have therapeutic potential that is a consequence of elemental composition and size. The most widely known of these are gold nanoshells that have been developed over the last two decades for photothermal ablation in superficial cancers. The therapeutic effect is the outcome of the thickness and diameter of the gold shell that enables fine tuning of the plasmon resonance. When these metal nanoparticles are exposed to the relevant wavelength of light, their temperature rapidly increases. This in turn induces a localized photothermal ablation that kills the surrounding tumor tissue. Similarly, gold nanoparticles have been developed to enhance radiotherapy. The high‐Z nature of gold dramatically increases the photoelectric cross‐section. Thus, the photoelectric effects are significantly increased. The outcome of these interactions is enhanced tumor killing with lower doses of radiation, all while sparing tissue without gold nanoparticles. Silver nanoparticles have been used for their wound healing properties in addition to enhancing the tumor‐killing effects of anticancer drugs. Finally, platinum nanoparticles are thought to serve as a reservoir for platinum ions that can induce DNA damage in cancer cells. The future is bright with the path to clinical trials is largely cleared for some of the less complex therapeutic metal nanoparticle systems. WIREs Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2015, 7:428–445. doi: 10.1002/wnan.1322 This article is categorized under: Implantable Materials and Surgical Technologies > Nanomaterials and Implants Therapeutic Approaches and Drug Discovery > Nanomedicine for Oncologic Disease Implantable Materials and Surgical Technologies > Nanoscale Tools and Techniques in Surgery
Gold nanoparticle‐enhanced radiotherapy in a mouse model. There was a clear difference in X‐ray imaging of the animals before (left panel) and 2 min after (right panel) injecting gold nanoparticles (Panel a). After irradiation, the tumor volume shrank dramatically in the gold nanoparticle and radiotherapy group compared with the other controls (Panel b). This was also the case with percent survival shown in Panel (c). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2004, IOP Publishing Ltd)
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In vitro and in vivo example of gold nanoshell photothermal tumor ablation. Adherent cells were treated with gold nanoshells and either treated with near‐infrared laser light or not in Panel (a). Calcein AM signal is present and fluorescein‐dextran is excluded in viable cells. The arrow in Panel (a) indicates where laser light was directed. Panel (b) illustrates the change in temperature (ΔT) from 0 to 6 mm from the skin to the tumor. Pathology images are shown in Panel (c), including a gross photograph (a′); silver‐stained section to reveal the location of the gold nanoshells in brown (b′); hematoxylin and eosin‐stained section to show tissue damage (c′); and a magnetic resonance imaging tomography image that confirmed irreversible thermal damage (d′). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2003, National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)
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The first report of gold nanoshell synthesis and optical characterization. Panel (a) shows the large Au2S core surrounded by gold nanoparticles forming an irregular shell structure (45 nm in diameter). The absorbance spectra of these particles is shown in Panel (b) where curve 1 represents a solution of the HAuCl4 before nanoparticle formation and curve 2 shows just the results from the core Au2S particle. Each consecutive curve shows increased gold nanoparticle shell formation. The highest peak at approximately 530 nm is from free gold nanoparticles and the secondary peak is from the gold nanoshell particle. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 1994, APS physics)
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Silver nanoparticle effects on wound cytokine levels and healing. (a) mRNA levels of IL‐6 and TGF‐β are shown over 1–30 days postinjury. The diamond indicates silver nanoparticle treatment, the triangle shows silvadene (silver sulfadiazine) data, and the square represents no treatment. (b) Photographs of silver nanoparticle (AgNP)‐ and silvadene‐treated wounds. (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2007, Wiley)
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The synthesis and use of PEG‐ and glucose‐coated gold nanoparticles for targeted enhancement of radiotherapy. Glucose (FDG) and PEG were coated onto the gold nanoparticles (GNPs) as schematically shown in Panel (a). These nanoparticles were shown to effectively enhance uptake and radiotherapy in vitro (Panel b) and in a mouse tumor model (Panel c). (Reprinted with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012, IOP Publishing Ltd)
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