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Killing cancer in the heat of the moment

The authors: (From left) Dr. Hirotaka Nakatsuji, Ms. Kelly Kawabata, Prof. Tatsuya Murakami, Prof. Mineko Kengaku

A new method efficiently transfers genes into cells, then activates them with light. This could lead to gene therapies for cancers.

Mineko Kengaku, Tatsuya Murakami, and their colleagues from Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) have developed a new method that modifies the surface of nanorods, making them more efficient in transporting cancer-killing genes into cells.

Further details are available at the following page:
Kyoto University: Changing the color of laser light on the femtosecond time scale: How BiCoO3 achieves second harmonic generation

  • Delivery and activation of genes by gold nanorods. Gold nanorods coated with charged lipids efficiently bind to DNA and penetrate cells. The team designed an artificial gene that is turned on by heat generated by the gold nanorods upon exposure to near infrared light illumination.
  • Gold nanorods carrying the heat-inducible TRAIL gene are transfected into cancer cells. Cancer cells express TRAIL receptors while normal cells do not. Illumination by a near-infrared laser warms gold nanorods and induces TRAIL expression in transfected cells. TRAIL then kills the surrounding cancer cells.

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