Gold Nanoparticles: Modern-day Elixir of Life

Artificial Gold

Gold was a divine metal to the ancient man that heals everything, from physical illness to heartaches. Contemporary scientists disregard these sentiments and worked on a cure of cancer. Surprisingly, gold was their answer!

Since ancient times, man saw gold as a different and a special metal. The color and uses of that metal for the pre-historic man enforced the divine metal idea. When man first built civilizations, he didn’t forget his relation to his old friend, gold! Tribal elders told their youngsters stories about gold, these stories be tales and legends, these legends became myths.

In every ancient culture, the world creation myth has to do something with gold. Moreover, legends and myths about healing powers of gold were popular in ancient civilizations. Some said it is the metal of the gods, and having it will make the gods heal us. So, gold healing power myth started religiously in pre-historic pagan tribes.

As time goes by, in the middle ages, a new gold fantasy emerged. After discovering Alchemy and potions became the science fiction of this era, alchemists and some physicians tried to cure infections people with gold. The notion of “Elixir of Life” became known worldwide. They observed that gold tooth didn’t cause infections in the patient’s mouth. But their efforts were not purely scientific. Many tried to manufacture this elixir but they failed miserably.

Time passed once again, and man liberated his mind. Modern scientist started researches in different fields trying to observe and invent more effective and efficient ways to solve their problems. One of these modern age problems was to find a cure for cancer.

The story began by observing nanoparticles characteristics of different metals, and finding a better way to cure cancer than chemotherapy or radiation. The invention of laser and its applications boosted both fields to new heights. In the medical field, laser was an efficient and accurate tool used in surgeries, medical imaging and diagnosis. On the other hand, laser was used in nanotechnology for measuring and accelerating nanoparticles.

By combining those different researches, especially in medical applications, a cure of cancer was theoretically discovered. A Laser Dynamics Lab made researches on the properties of noble metals nanoparticles and their responses to light stimulation. A Stanford University research showed the potential of gold nanoparticles to label and tag cancer cells. Another research from the University of Missouri proved gold radioactive nanoparticles is an effective cancer treatment for mammals. It hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but this was a good sign.

The theory of this new gold nanoparticles cure of cancer is, taking advantage of gold physical properties to destroy cancerous cells without harming other cells. Gold has a special wavelength that reacts to near infra-red light. Gold nanoparticles in general have a 10 times tendency to attach to a cancer tissue or cell than to be absorbed by a healthy cell. Also, gold doesn’t react with the human body having nearly no side effects. These were the few properties that nominated gold nanoparticles to become the Elixir of Life.

An approach used is to inject gold radioactive nanoparticles directly in the tumor, using CT guided technologies. The gold nanoparticles radio-waves should do the rest and destroy the cancerous cells on its own, or it can be activated by using a projected laser beam.

Another approach is to use gold Nano-rods for their ability to target solid tumors and their great photo-thermal conversion rate. A near infra-red laser is projected on the target area. This laser projection is to heat the nanoparticles in this specific area to more than 70 Celsius, burning the cancerous cells with pin-point accuracy.

On the economic side, these new nanotechnology applications should be much less costly than chemotherapy. The amount of materials and energy used are much less than running toxic chemicals in the body for a long period of time. As for manufacturing these devices, it shouldn’t be more expensive than extracting toxic chemicals from plants and mass producing them in pills or potions. Moreover, gold might be synthesized from mercury or other metals. The problem in synthesizing gold is the amount of energy used. The good thing is, gold nanotechnology cure doesn’t need much gold.

These theories succeeded in labs, but haven’t seen the light to the public yet. Maybe there are some side effects that haven’t been shown yet, or mass producing these equipment doesn’t worth it for the big drug companies. But who cares? Even if gold has another use than being stashed in central banks vaults, governments and corporations won’t use their precious gold to cure cancer!!