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Application of Biofunctional Gold Nanoparticles in Cancer Targeting and Therapy

Dr Jing-Liang Li

Centre for Micro-Photonics, Faculty of Engineering and Industrial Science, Swinburne University of Technology.

Friday, 1st June 2007, 3.30PM, EN101, Ground floor, Engineering Building, Hawthorn.

Gold nanoparticles have shown potential applications as both a contrast agent and drug for cancer imaging and therapy. Bioconjugation of specific biomolecules such as antibodies to gold nanoparticle have been used for the effective targeting of the nanoparticles to cancer cells. However, the detection of a number of cancers with a certain type of gold nanoparticle conjugates remains to be a challenge. Transferrin receptor is related to cell proliferation and ubiquitously present on the membrane of all types of cell. It has been verified that transferrin receptor is over-expressed in malignant tissues, due to the fast proliferation of cancer cells. Therefore, transferrin-transferrin receptor interaction can be promisingly used for the detection and therapy of cancers. So far, transferrin-conjugated gold nanoparticles have not been studied for this kind of application. In this work, transferrin is conjugated to gold nanoparticles for targeting, imaging and photothermal therapy of a breast cancer. The results show that the presence of transferrin molecules on the surface of gold nanoparticles can significantly enhance the cellular uptake of gold nanoparticles, and greatly reduce the laser power effective for cancer therapy. Transferrin-conjugated gold nanoparticles can be potentially used as a platform for the detection and laser therapy of a variety of cancers, due to the abundance of transferrin receptors on malignant tissues.

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