The use of nanoparticles in biomedical applications is emerging rapidly. Recent developments have led to numerous studies of noble metal nanoparticles, down to the level of single molecule detection in living cells. The application of noble metal nanoparticles in diagnostics and treatment of early stage carcinomas is the subject of many present studies. Gold nanoparticles are particularly interesting for optical biomedical applications due to their biocompatibility and moreover, their enhanced absorption cross-sections. The latter is a result of surface plasmon resonance, which can be tuned by altering the shape of the nanoparticles enabling usage of the near infrared tissue transparent optical window. This paper presents a brief overview of the variety of shapes, size and surface chemistries of the gold nanoparticles used for cancer detection and treatment, as well as their effects in different tumour models that have recently been investigated, both in vitro and in vivo.

© 2011 OSA/SPIE

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