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IISc develops new nanoparticle for cancer treatment

Published: 14th Sep, 2023


Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have made a significant breakthrough in cancer research by developing a new method to detect and kill cancer cells.


About the method

  • The team has created hybrid nanoparticles.
  • The hybrid nanoparticles are composed of gold and copper sulphide, which can destroy cancer cells through heat generation and enable their detection using sound waves.
  • The hybrid nanoparticles exhibit photo thermal, oxidative stress, and photoacoustic properties.
  • Therapeutic potential:
    • When exposed to light, these particles absorb it and generate heat, effectively killing cancer cells.
    • Additionally, they produce toxic singlet oxygen atoms that further contribute to the destruction of cancer cells.
  • Diagnostic capabilities:
    • They can absorb light and generate ultrasound waves, enabling the detection of cancer cells with high contrast.
    • This property could enhance the accuracy of cancer diagnosis as sound waves scatter less than light when passing through tissues, providing clearer images and more precise measurements of oxygen saturation in tumors.
  • This innovative approach was detailed in a studypublished in ACS Applied Nano Materials.

About Cancer:

  • Cancer is a disease in which abnormal cells divide uncontrollably and destroy body tissue.
  • It can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die and new cells take their place.
  • When cancer develops, this orderly process breaks down. As cells become more and more abnormal, old or damaged cells survive when they should die and new cells form when they are not needed. These extra cells can divide without stopping and forms tumors, which can spread through the blood or the lymph system and form new tumors far from the original tumor.
  • Causes of Cancer:
    • Biological or internal factors, such as age, gender, inherited genetic defects and skin type.
    • Environmental exposure, for instance to radon and UV radiation, and fine particulate matter.
    • Occupational risk factors, like carcinogens such as chemicals, radioactive materials and asbestos.
    • Lifestyle-related factors.

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