Tiny gold particles could potentially be used to treat cancer, new research suggests. Scientists at Edinburgh University have completed a study which shows that the precious metal increased the effectiveness of drugs used to treat lung cancer cells.
It was discovered that gold has the ability to act as a catalyst for chemotherapy and that these catalytic abilities can be accessed in living things without causing any side effects. In this case, a tiny gold device was implanted in the brain of a zebrafish and was shown to be effective.
Even though the treatment has not yet been tested on humans, researchers hope that the technology could one day be used to reduce side effects of current chemotherapy treatments by precisely targeting diseased cells without damaging healthy tissue.
Since the gold itself does nothing to the cells, the implant can be placed for example in a brain tumor. Specifically designed precursors within the device will become the drug and all the healthy organs will be unaffected by the chemotherapy.
It is not known how long it would take for this type of treatment to be widely used. This depends on clinical trials, which can sometimes take years.
Brain tumors are currently the most difficult to treat with chemotherapy and if proven to be successful, this new technology could prove to be a revolution in the treatment of various types of difficult to treat cancers.
This is just another example of the various technological applications of gold, as we previously mentioned in an article that gold was shown to have self-healing properties and therefore has the potential to be used for certain technological and medical advancements.