Researchers Use Gold Nanoparticles to Make Drugs More Effective

Published Date : Apr 23, 2018

Researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, have found a new way of making drugs more effective with the use of nanotechnology so the drugs would be more effective when reaching their target. The researchers have devised a new method for coating gold nanoparticles with a protein so the nanoparticles can be used to produce drugs that can target the required area on the body more accurately, such as a tumor.

Gold nanoparticles can hold drugs onto their surfaces, which would otherwise degrade quickly in the blood stream or become insoluble. Due to the nano-particle size of these particles, they can easily pass through biological barriers such as small intestine, skin, and membranes, which are usually the barriers that keep the drug from effectively getting to its target.

The technology already finds usage in real-world applications and products such as pregnancy tests, wherein gold nanoparticles coated with an antibody against the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin are added to the positive strip in the test. When the nanoparticle react with the hormone in the urine, the positive strip turns red suggesting the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin in the urine, thus suggesting pregnancy. However, this is not yet used widely in the field of drug development.

With this new method of coating nanoparticle, unlike previous processes that ‘mixed’ the proteins with particles which did not perform well when it came to binding proteins onto themselves, pharmacologists can coat the proteins on the gold nanoparticles in a specific order. This is essential in maintaining the reliability of the protein to that the drug becomes more effective. The result of the study have been published recently in the journal Nature Communications.