Starving Cancer With Gold Shows Promise

Written by Taylor Habig on . Posted in Science, Social Media


Credit: FieldMuseum.Org

Researchers at at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have been successfully using spongy gold nanoparticles to starve cancer cells to death.

C. Shad Thaxton, M.D., and Leo I. Gordon, M.D. collaborated on a hugely important step in lymphoma cancer research:

“The National Cancer Institutes reports that in 2012 there were about 70,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the U.S. with nearly 19,000 deaths. About 90 percent of those new cases were B-cell lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system”

B-cell lymphoma cells utilize HDL cholesterol as a food source. These gold nanoparticles bind to and permanently block receptors on the cancer cell that are responsible for taking in HDLs. Additionally, the spongy nature of the gold nanoparticle allows it to absorb cholesterol already present in the cell. This double whammy approach to blocking uptake of new HDL outside the cell and binding up HDL inside the cell has been extremely successful at literally starving the cancer cell to death.

“Like every new drug candidate, the HDL nanoparticle will need to undergo further testing,” Thaxton noted.

Here’s one guy that’s stoked about the news:




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