Cancer-cell-specific cytotoxicity of non-oxidized iron elements in iron core-gold shell NPs

Ya Na Wu, Dong Hwang Chen, Xian Yu Shi, Chiao Ching Lian, Ting Yu Wang, Chen Sheng Yeh, Kyle R. Ratinac, Pall Thordarson, Filip Braet, Dar Bin Shieh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Gold-coated iron nanoparticles (NPs) selectively and significantly (P <0.0001) inhibit proliferation of oral- and colorectal-cancer cells in vitro at doses as low as 5 μg/mL, but have little adverse effect on normal healthy control cells. The particle treatment caused delay in cell-cycle progression, especially in the S-phase. There was no significant difference in the NP uptake between cancer and control cells, and cytotoxicity resulted primarily from the iron core, before oxidation, rather than from the Fe ions released from the core. In contrast with magnetic NPs that usually serve as drug carriers, diagnostic probes or hyperthermia media, the iron, before oxidation, in the NPs selectively suppressed cancer cell growth and left healthy control cells unaffected in vitro and in vivo. This novel nanomaterial holds great promise as a therapeutic tool in nanomedicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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