Gold nanoparticles invented by Naomi Halas, head of Rice University in the US, target prostate cancer, in a first-of-its-kind clinical trial.The nanoparticles or nanoshells are made of small layers of silica glass formed into a sphere and wrapped in a thin layer of gold.
The shells find the cancerous cells and saturate them. Then light is applied through a laser, specifically designed to excite the shells, which in turn, causes the tumorous tissue to pulse with extreme temperature. The oscillation kills the cancer cells while preserving the healthy tissue, avoiding the nerves and urinary sphincter. This procedure is the first in the world that is precise enough to potentially avoid negative ramifications like urinary incontinence or sexual impotency.
“The side effects of current prostate cancer treatments can be extremely traumatic. This new technology holds the potential to eliminate those life-altering effects, while still removing the cancer tissue and reducing hospital and recovery time,” said Dr. Steven Canfield, a scientist approved by US Foods and Drugs Association for testing the new treatment.
“In fact, the first patient in the trial was actually riding a bike within a week of his treatment,” he said.