For years, scientists have been studying the medicinal potential of precious metals. This has led to the development of precious metal nanoparticles that have shown a lot of promise for treating cancer, such as the platinum-derived drug cisplatin, which is an effective treatment for testicular cancer. For some of these treatments, getting the drugs to a very specific site within the body is key. To those ends, pharmacists at the University of Sydney have developed a drug that can be directed through the body magnetically.
The drug works like a combination of cisplatin and the gold nanoparticles from AuroLase Therapy. It consists of an iron oxide core plated with gold. Strings of polymer connect the gold and iron cores to particles of cisplatin, creating a molecule about five nanometers in size. All three metals work together as a potentially effective cancer treatment.
Thanks to the iron content, the drug can be directed straight into a tumor using magnetic waves. Once there, the cytotoxic gold and platinum nanoparticles destroy the cancer cells without harming other healthy cells in the body.
There is still testing that needs to be done. But, the ability to direct the drug could eliminate the severe side-effects of traditional chemotherapy, which spreads throughout body affecting both cancerous and healthy cells.