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Cancer treatment: New method to transport cancer-killing genes into cells

The method involves coating gold nanorods, which produces heat when exposed to a near-infrared laser

ANI  |  Washington DC 

Radiotherapy treats cancer by directing beams of high energy x-rays at the tumour (Image: Shutterstock)

Researchers have developed a new method that modifies the surface of nanorods, making them more efficient in transporting into cells.

The method involves coating gold nanorods, which produce heat when exposed to a near-infrared laser, with the lipids oleate and DOTAP. The lipids enhance the nanorods' ability to interact with and penetrate cells.

Mineko Kengaku, Tatsuya Murakami, and their colleagues from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) also developed a gene carrier, known as a plasmid vector, which includes a 'heat shock protein' that is activated in response to heat.

First, the vector was bound to the 'enhanced green fluorescent protein' (EGFP) gene, and then transferred into mammalian cells by the lipid-coated gold nanorods.

Exposing cells to near-infrared laser for ten seconds heated up the gold nanorods, turning on the EGFP gene. Surrounding, non-targeted cells showed little to no EGFP expression.

A protein called TRAIL was then added to the plasmid vector. TRAIL induces cell death in cancer cell lines. Infrared illumination of cells transfected by TRAIL-carrying nanorods led to a high cell death rate in surrounding cancer cells.

The lipid-coated gold nanorods could potentially help with molecular cancer therapies.

This new system "provides a unique opportunity for site-directed, light-inducible transgene expression in mammalian cells by a near-infrared laser, with minimal phototoxicity," conclude the researchers in their study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, July 08 2017. 13:14 IST
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