March 24, 2014

Hot nanoparticles for cancer treatments

Nanoparticles have a great deal of potential in medicine: for diagnostics, as a vehicle for active substances or a tool to kill off tumours using heat. ETH Zurich researchers have now developed particles that are relatively easy to produce and have a wide range of applications.

If you put your hand over a switched-on torch in the dark, it appears to glow red. This is because long-wavelength red light beams penetrate human tissue more effectively than short-wavelength blue light. ETH Zurich researchers exploit this fact in a new kind of nanoparticles: so-called plasmonic particles, which heat up when they absorb near-infrared light. This could enable them to kill tumour tissue with heat, for instance.