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A novel approach to detect and kill cancer cells

Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Source: TH 

Context: Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a novel approach to detect and potentially kill cancer cells, especially those forming solid tumour masses.

  • They created hybrid nanoparticles consisting of gold and copper sulphide, which can both kill cancer cells using heat and facilitate their detection using sound waves.
  • These hybrid nanoparticles possess photothermal, oxidative stress, and photoacoustic properties. When exposed to light, they absorb it and generate heat, which can be lethal to cancer cells.
  • Additionally, these nanoparticles produce singlet oxygen atoms that are toxic to cells, providing a dual mechanism for cell destruction.
  • Moreover, these nanoparticles have the potential to aid in cancer diagnosis. Their photoacoustic property allows them to absorb light and generate ultrasound waves, which can be used to detect cancer cells with high contrast once the particles reach them.
  • The small size of these hybrid nanoparticles (less than 8 nm) makes them suitable for travelling within tissues and reaching tumours.