Potential of Gold in treatment of Cancer

  • At present, one isotope gold Au-198, (half-life 2.7 days) is used in some cancer treatments and for treating other diseases.

Recently, an international team, led by University of Western Australia and Griffith University, has described how using two imaging techniques can allow scientists to see where gold complexes used in potential chemotherapeutic treatments end up in cells.

Energy filtered transmission electron microscopy — gave element maps for the gold, allowing the scientists to see nuclear and mitochondrial morphology. The new technique is called nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry, which has enabled the visualization of the gold at a subcellular level. Previous techniques for this type of analysis were destructive to the cell.

The scientists say that the unique properties of Gold can be exploited in design of new drugs. Certain gold compounds are selectively toxic to cancer cells but not to normal cells.