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Tools & Techniques Cancer, Drug delivery

The Golden Touch

For decades, scientists have been trying to figure out ways of reducing the toxic side effects of chemotherapy drugs. But what if patients could receive inactive chemical precursors along with a catalyst to produce therapeutic compounds at the site of the tumor?

The trouble is finding the right catalyst. According to researchers from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, gold nanoparticles are a good prospect: they work at or even below room temperature, are recyclable, and harmless to human beings. Their application in biological systems, however, is hampered by their affinity for thiols – sulphur analogues of alcohols. The near covalent bond formed between gold and sulphur leads to the spontaneous self-assembly of monolayers at the surface of the catalyst, masking its catalytic properties.

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About the Author

James Strachan

Over the course of my Biomedical Sciences degree it dawned on me that my goal of becoming a scientist didn’t quite mesh with my lack of affinity for lab work. Thinking on my decision to pursue biology rather than English at age 15 – despite an aptitude for the latter – I realized that science writing was a way to combine what I loved with what I was good at.
From there I set out to gather as much freelancing experience as I could, spending 2 years developing scientific content for International Innovation, before completing an MSc in Science Communication. After gaining invaluable experience in supporting the communications efforts of CERN and IN-PART, I joined Texere – where I am focused on producing consistently engaging, cutting-edge and innovative content for our specialist audiences around the world.

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