Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

IISc develops Hybrid Nanoparticles to detect and kill cancer cells


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Gold and Copper Sulfide Nanoparticles

Mains level: NA


Central Idea

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have pioneered a novel approach with the potential to detect and eradicate cancer cells, particularly those forming solid tumour masses.

Gold and Copper Sulfide Nanoparticles

  • Innovative Nanoparticles: IISc scientists have engineered hybrid nanoparticles that blend gold and copper sulfide, resulting in multifunctional nanoparticles with promising implications for cancer detection and treatment.
  • Photothermal and Oxidative Properties: These nanoparticles exhibit photothermal capabilities, where they absorb light and convert it into heat, effectively killing cancer cells. Moreover, they produce singlet oxygen atoms, which further contribute to the cells’ toxicity.
  • Combining Mechanisms: The nanoparticles employ both photothermal and oxidative mechanisms to target and eliminate cancer cells effectively.

Revolutionizing Cancer Diagnosis

  • Ultrasound Waves: Beyond cancer treatment, these hybrid nanoparticles hold potential for cancer diagnosis. Their photoacoustic property enables them to absorb light and generate ultrasound waves.
  • High Contrast Detection: The ultrasound waves enhance the contrast for detecting cancer cells once the nanoparticles reach them. This method offers superior image resolution compared to traditional CT and MRI scans.
  • Clarity and Oxygen Saturation Measurement: Scans generated through ultrasound waves boast greater clarity and the ability to measure oxygen saturation within tumors, enhancing cancer detection accuracy.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: The nanoparticles can be seamlessly integrated with current detection and treatment systems. For instance, endoscopes used for cancer screening can trigger nanoparticle-induced heat generation with focused light.

Overcoming Size Limitations

  • Size Advantages: These hybrid nanoparticles, measuring less than 8 nm, possess a critical advantage in terms of mobility within tissues and their ability to reach tumors.
  • Potential Safe Elimination: Due to their diminutive size, researchers anticipate that these nanoparticles can exit the human body naturally without accumulating. However, extensive safety studies are essential to confirm their suitability for internal use.
  • Successful Lab Testing: In laboratory settings, the researchers conducted successful tests using these nanoparticles on lung and cervical cancer cell lines, demonstrating their potential.
  • Clinical Development: The promising outcomes from this study propel the nanoparticles closer to clinical development.

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