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Ultra-Small Gold-Doxorubicin Rapidly Kill Cancer Cells

X. Zhang, J.L. Nadeau, H. Chibli
McGill University, CA

Keywords: gold nanoparticles, doxorubicin


In this work, red-fluorescent ultra-small Au nanoparticles (2.8nm)(AuNPs) are synthesized and functionalized with a tiopronin. These extremely water-soluble particles are weakly red-flourescence from 650nm to 860nm with the peak at 780nm. Doxorubicin (Dox), a hydrophobic anticancer agent, is conjugated to Au nanoparticles through amide bond formation. Toxcity test shows that the conjugates are up to 20 times more lethal to B16 melanoma cells than free dox while the AuNPs does no harm. Electromicroscopy image has suggested that cells treated with AuDox go through apoptosis as the Dox treated ones. The mechanism of action of the conjugate is further explored. Bcl2 transfected Hela cells, a cell line resistant to apoptosis, are used to find out the role of conjugate in apoptosis. Surprisingly, the gold-doxorubicin conjugate appears so destructive that it kills the Hela-Bcl2+ to the same level as to the Hela-Control cells while doxorubicin alone kills more Hela-Control cells. CM‐H2DCFDA has also showed more reactive oxygen species are produced in the cells treated with AuDox. More experiments will be done to investigate the involvment of AuDox in cancer cells. Overall, this exploration offers a very promising potential in the use of gold to be an efficient drug delivery agent and an enhancing tool for the drug efficiency.
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