Gold nanocages (AuNCs) have been shown to be a useful tool both for imaging and hyperthermia therapy of cancer, thanks to their outstanding optical properties, low toxicity and facile functionalization with targeting molecules, including peptides and antibodies. In particular, hyperthermia is a minimally invasive therapy which takes advantage of the peculiar properties of gold nanoparticles to efficiently convert the absorbed light into heat. Here, we use AuNCs for the selective targeting and imaging of prostate cancer cells. Moreover, we report the hyperthermic effect characterization of the AuNCs both in solution and internalized in cells. Prostate cancer cells were irradiated at different exposure times, with a pulsed near infrared laser, and the cellular viability was evaluated by confocal microscopy.
Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) is a popular method in bio-analytical chemistry and a potentially powerful enabling technology for <i>in vitro</i> diagnostics. SERS combines the excellent chemical specificity of Raman
spectroscopy with the good sensitivity provided by enhancement of the signal that is observed when a molecule is
located on (or very close to) the surface of nanostructured metallic materials. Star-like gold nanoparticles (SGN) are a new class of multibranched nanoparticles that in the last few years have attracted the attention of SERS community for their plasmonic properties. In this work we present a new method to prepare star-like gold nanoparticles with a simple one step protocol at room temperature using hydroquinone as reducing agent. Besides we compare the enhancement of Raman signal of malachite green, a dye commonly employed as label in biological studies, by star-like gold nanoparticles having different size, directly in liquid. This study shows that SGN provide good enhancement of Raman signal and that the effect of their dimension is strongly dependent on the wavelength used. Moreover preliminary results suggest that SGN produced using this method are characterized by good physical-chemical properties and they can be functionalized using the standard thiol chemistry. Overall, these results suggest that star-like gold nanoparticles produced through this method could be used for the further development of highly specific and sensitive SERS-based bio-analytical tests.
A bimodular genetic fusion comprising a delivery module (scFv) and a capture module (SNAP) is proposed as a novel
strategy for the biologically mediated site-specific covalent conjugation of targeting proteins to nanoparticles.
ScFv800E6, an scFv mutant selective for HER2 antigen overexpressed in breast cancer cells was chosen as targeting
ligand. The fusion protein SNAP-scFv was irreversibly immobilized on magnetofluorescent nanoparticles through the
recognition between SNAP module and pegylated O<sub>6</sub>-alkylguanine derivative. The targeting efficiency of the resulting nanoparticle against HER2-positive breast cancer cells was assessed by flow cytometry and immunofluorescence.