Russian scientists have created nanostars that can destroy cancer

© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Planinata the artist imagines the mechanism of action of gold nanoparticles on cancer cellRussian scientists have created nanostars that can destroy cancer© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Polyanina

Scientists from the National technological University «MISIS» together with colleagues from the Institute of nuclear physics named after Saha (Kolkata, India) were able to synthesize stable gold nanoparticles in the form of stars to fight against cancer. Inexpensive and non-toxic nanoparticles will effectively diagnose cancer in its early stages and point to destroy the affected cells. The study is published in the scientific Journal Journal of the Chemical Society.

Today in medicine are widely used plasmonic nanomaterials based on silver and gold. Called plasmonic nanostructures exhibit unusual optical and physical properties, due to the oscillation of free electrons inside them. Self oscillation depends on the shape and size of nanoparticles.
These nanoparticles have broad biomedical applications — they are used in genomics, biosensors using, immunoassay, laser phototherapy of cancer cells, targeted delivery of drugs, DNA and antigens, bioimaging and monitoring of cells and tissues.

© Nust «MISIS»Nanoparticles of gold under the microscopeRussian scientists have created nanostars that can destroy cancer© nust «MISIS»Nanoparticles of gold under the microscope

The surface of the molecule nanoparticles of gold significantly enhance the Raman signal, that is, when the illumination laser is bucking the bright glare. The use of silver in the same experiment gives a lower Raman signal, in addition, this metal is more toxic. That is, nanoparticles of gold can increase the signal many times and to glow brightly when the accumulation even of a small number of molecules, so they can be used to diagnose cancer in its earliest stages.

© Nust «MISIS»Nanoparticles of gold under the microscopeRussian scientists have created nanostars that can destroy cancer© nust «MISIS»Nanoparticles of gold under the microscope
However, plasmonic nanoparticles based on gold, there is a drawback: when injected into the blood, they begin to aggregate (stick together) under the influence of too large for the concentration of sodium chloride. Eventually, the vessels become clogged, and deliver nanoparticles to diseased tissues becomes impossible.
«Young scientists of the Center for energy efficiency nust MISIS under the supervision of Professor Dulal Senapati from the Institute of nuclear physics named after Saha was able to solve this problem, — said the rector of nust «Misa» Alevtina Chernikov. They synthesized stable nanoparticles based on gold, which do not aggregate when injected into the blood and have a high efficiency in Raman spectroscopy».

Delivery of nanoparticles to tumors can be done in two ways. In the first «Golden» magnetic nanosorbent is injected directly into the tumor, and then using a magnetic field the gold nanoparticles are concentrated around it. The second nanoparticle is specially coated with antibodies constituting a pair of antibodies, characteristic of some types of cancer. The result of the antibody «engage», and the nanoparticles are deposited on the tumor.

© Nust «MISIS»In the diagram «work» of the gold nanoparticles inside the tumorRussian scientists have created nanostars that can destroy cancer© nust «MISIS»In the diagram «work» of the gold nanoparticles inside the tumor

It turned out that it is advantageous to create nanoparticles in the form of stars, as they are more effective when photothermally therapy.

«The process photothermally therapy can be described as follows, — says the head of infrastructure project nust «MISIS» (project «Obtaining, characterization and application of functionalized anisotropic nanomaterials for selective detection of biomarkers, ultra-precise quantitative analysis and therapy») Professor at the Institute of nuclear physics named Sakha Dulal Senapati. When the nanoparticle reaches the affected area, it’s beginning to affect the laser, it absorbs the light and focuses it like a lens, guiding its point at the sharp edge of the star. Then this light is converted to a tremendous amount of heat (about 4500-5000 degrees Celsius), which is concentrated at the tip of the star. Generated therefore, the heat breaks the flow of the membrane of a cancer cell and destroys it without having a negative impact on healthy cells. Our nanoparticles in the form of a star absorb light at a wavelength of 600-900 nm. It’s very good, because in this region of the spectrum, our body is transparent to radiation. Most of the biological molecules in this region of the spectrum cannot absorb the light.»
© Nust «MISIS»Nanoparticles of gold under a microscope at high magnificationRussian scientists have created nanostars that can destroy cancer© nust «MISIS»Nanoparticles of gold under a microscope at high magnification

Synthesized gold nanoparticles in aqueous solution with the use of vitamin C, so they are non-toxic and inexpensive. According to preliminary estimates, the cost of a solution with a volume of 100 MICS is about 50 rubles.

The work on the technology was conducted with the participation of experts of the Russian oncological centre named after N. N. Blokhin. Now scientists are working to improve particle — trying to synthesize other types of stars.

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