IISc researchers develop novel approach to target cancer cells

Researchers developed a promising new method for combating cancer by using nano particles made of gold and copper sulfide to destroy them.

Rishika Bhardwaj

Nanoparticles in a cancel cell / Drug Discovery and Development

An innovative method for identifying and eliminating cancer cells, especially those in solid tumor masses, was recently unveiled by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc). 

To locate and destroy cancer cells with heat and sound waves, the team used microscopic particles made from gold and copper sulfide. This promising development is a major advancement in the ongoing fight against cancer.

The scientists at IISc used two different types of super tiny particles to achieve the feat. According to a news release, one type can help find cancer, and the other can be made to attack it. They fused these particles together to make new ones with enhanced abilities, including the ability to locate and destroy cancer.

Assistant professor Jaya Prakash from the Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics (IAP) at IISc, one of the paper's authors, explains, "These particles possess photothermal, oxidative stress, and photoacoustic properties." PhD candidates Madhavi Tripathi and Swathi Padmanabhan, co-first authors of the paper, made significant contributions to the study.

“These special nanoparticles, when they see light, get hot and that heat can kill cancer cells. At the same time, they create something called "singlet oxygen," which is harmful to cancer cells. Prakash elaborated, "We aim to exploit both of these mechanisms to eliminate cancer cells."

These nanoparticles can also aid doctors in the detection of cancer. Regular scans require expert interpretation, but these particles use light to create clear images with sound. These scans can even determine how much air is present in the cancer, making it easier to locate.

Ashok M Raichur, a professor at the Department of Materials Engineering another author, envisioned practical applications, stating, "You can integrate this with existing systems of detection or treatment. For instance, endoscopes commonly used in cancer screening can activate the nanoparticles to generate heat by shining light on them.”


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