Treating cancer with gold particles

Radical new gold nanoparticle research proving ability to stop aggressive cancer in its tracks.

Gold nanoparticle technology is showing game-changing potential as a new approach to stop metastatic cancer in its tracks and revolutionise how cancers are treated.

A research team led by Associate Professor Ivan Kempson at the University of South Australia (UniSA) has discovered a way to cripple a major DNA damage repair mechanism that cancers use to recover between doses of radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

“All cells have this DNA damage repair ability, including cancers - which is a major treatment issue in the fight to cure cancer, particularly metastatic cancers that have spread to other parts of the body and are much more aggressive,” says Associate Professor Ivan Kempson.

“Radiotherapy and chemotherapy work by delivering a toxic blow to cancer cells to damage them repeatedly until they die. Unfortunately, healthy cells are also damaged and they require time between treatments to recover.

“We want healthy cells to repair between treatment sessions but we need to stop the cancers from having the same opportunity to repair.

“Using our discovery to target this biological pathway, we have an opportunity to deliver a potent co-therapy that can stop cancer cells accessing their repair mechanism.

“The therapy would be delivered by tiny gold nanoparticles that have been specifically designed to ensure they are targeted for delivery directly into cancer cells and not circulated throughout the body.

“We have previously shown that our gold nanoparticles also enhance the ability of radiotherapy to kill cancer cells so our approach could provide a double hit that will reduce the amount of treatment required, thus reducing side effects and costs and increasing the chance of successful treatment."

These tiny gold nanoparticles offer a radical new approach to stopping cancer in its tracks.

UniSA is committed to tackling cancer – one of the most challenging diseases affecting Australians today. As part of this commitment, the UniSA Cancer Research Institute was opened on May 10 – bringing together the largest cohort of cancer researchers ever assembled in South Australia to work collaboratively to fight cancer.

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The University of South Australia (UniSA) is committed to tackling one of our most challenging diseases – cancer – by establishing the largest cohort of cancer researchers ever assembled in South Australia. Every day our experts are getting one-step closer to saving more lives as well as improving the quality of life for cancer survivors. But they need your help.

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