Nanoparticles and lasers have proven both proven effective in targeting cancer cells, and now scientists have used them in concert to deliver death to diseased cells. Lasers that zap gold nanoparticles inside specific cells can either create small, bright bubbles to paint the target, or large bubbles that burst the cells.
Such nanobubbles show up under microscopes and could allow scientists to better diagnose cancer cells, if not destroy them outright. Researchers have used nanobubbles in the past to blast plaque deposits that can clog arteries and cause heart attacks.
“The bubbles work like a jackhammer,” said Dmitri Lapotko, a physicist at Rice University in Houston and head of the study that appears in the journal Nanotechnology.
Lapotko and his Rice University group targeted leukemia cells as well as head and neck cancer cells in their latest work. They attached antibodies to the nanoparticles that specifically targeted only cancer cells, and then set about with the laser zapping.
But this promising approach has some competition. We previously looked at a multi-tasking nanoparticle that can seek out and destroy cancer cells all by its lonesome self.