Research Project

Precise Manipulation of Gold Nanowires as Delivery Vehicles for Cancer Therapeutics

One challenge in cancer immunology is the precise manipulation of both cell-to-cell contact and the Ras ligand density in order to trigger apoptosis (programmed cell death). We aim to establish a platform that utilizes gold nanowires to mimic cytotoxic T-cells in order to introduce the apoptosis of tumor cells.

Elemental gold (Au) nanowires have attracted significant attention as basic research platforms and potential targeted delivery vehicles in biological studies because of their stability, low toxicity, and tunable properties. In the current study, we aim to establish a platform that utilizes Au nanowires to mimic cytotoxic T-cells in order to introduce the apoptosis of tumor cells. In particular, Au nanowire surfaces can be functionalized through surface modifications to the Ras ligands, which can initiate apoptotic pathways once bound with Ras receptors on tumor cells. Here we fabricate monodispersed Au nanowires with large aspect ratios using template-guided electrodeposition.

We have shown that these Au nanowires can be precisely aligned and transported in suspension using a combination of torque in an alternating current electric field and Lorentz forces in a constant electric field. As a result, functionalized nanowires can be directed to individual cells to trigger biochemical reactions or deliver drugs without affecting other neighboring cells. Nanowire motion control is even precise enough to target specific regions of interest within an individual cell.

One challenge in cancer immunology is the precise manipulation of both cell-to-cell contact and the Ras ligand density in order to trigger apoptosis. This novel subcellular manipulation technique can serve as an in vitro tool to comprehend our understanding in T-cell induced cancer toxicity. When combined with cancer target approaches, this system may be further utilized for targeted drug delivery for cancer therapeutics applications.

Highlights from this Research
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