New Research: Selective Cancer Hyperthermia via Gold Nanotubes with Controlled Length and Near-Infrared Absorption.

One of the continued challenges of cancer therapy is the high recurrence rates of tumour development after surgical removal. Chemo and-or radiotherapy is often given following surgery to prevent this, but these treatments cause serious side effects including new cancerous growth and metastases via the cancer stem cell pathway.
In a recent study conducted by Dr Sunjie Ye, who is based in both the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Leeds Institute for Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at the University of Leeds is addressing this challenge via the gold nanotube technology (ie,  gold nanoparticles with tubular structures that resemble tiny drinking straws), thanks to which near infrared light can be absorbed. The study’s corresponding author Professor Steve Evans, from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, said: “Human tissue is transparent for certain frequencies of light – in the red/infrared region. This is why parts of your hand appear red when a torch is shone through it.
“When the gold nanotubes travel through the body, if light of the right frequency is shone on them they absorb the light. This light energy is converted to heat, rather like the warmth generated by the Sun on skin. Using a pulsed laser beam, we were able to rapidly raise the temperature in the vicinity of the nanotubes so that it was high enough to destroy cancer cells.”
In cell-based studies, by adjusting the brightness of the laser pulse, the researchers say they were able to control whether the gold nanotubes were in cancer-destruction mode, or ready to image tumours. In order to see the gold nanotubes in the body, the researchers used a new type of imaging technique called ‘multispectral optoacoustic tomography’ (MSOT) to detect the gold nanotubes in mice, in which gold nanotubes had been injected intravenously.
This experiment  is the first biomedical application of gold nanotubes within a living organism. It was also shown that gold nanotubes were excreted from the body and therefore are unlikely to cause problems in terms of toxicity, an important consideration when developing nanoparticles for clinical use. Study co-author Dr James McLaughlan, from the School of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds, said: “This is the first demonstration of the production, and use for imaging and cancer therapy, of gold nanotubes that strongly absorb light within the ‘optical window’ of biological tissue.
“The nanotubes can be tumour-targeted and have a central ‘hollow’ core that can be loaded with a therapeutic payload. This combination of targeting and localised release of a therapeutic agent could, in this age of personalised medicine, be used to identify and treat cancer with minimal toxicity to patients.”
The use of gold nanotubes in imaging and other biomedical applications is currently progressing through trial stages towards early clinical studies. (eg, nanovectors combine cancer imaging and therapy).
From the viewpoint of holistic and integrative oncology, the question is how efficient and safe this technique remains when conventional therapies like chemo and radiation are still used ? And whether there is a more holistic way of introducing heat and light to cancer cells without toxic interventions, thereby promoting apoptotic elimination of cancer cells and getting the innate immune system to kick in as it’s suppose to ? For a few suggestions regarding the Coley technique, hyperthermia via sauna and hot tubs and other  approaches, see the Holistic Oncology’s Center: 
“Engineering Gold Nanotubes with Controlled Length and Near-Infrared Absorption for Theranostic Applications”,  published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials on 13 February 2015.
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