Gold and Tea Overwhelm Prostate Cancer

Aggressive prostate cancer shrinks with gold nanoparticles

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The chemotherapy used to treat prostate cancer is no picnic. A new option is emerging that could combine the powers of tea and gold.

Researchers combined gold nanoparticles with a compound found in tea to successfully shrink aggressive prostate cancer tumors in mice.

"Develop a prostate cancer screening program that's right for you."

University of Missouri scientists developed this novel therapy that hones in on tumors and leaves healthy tissue alone - a treatment that requires doses that are thousands of times smaller than standard chemotherapy.

"In our study, we found that a special compound in tea was attracted to tumor cells in the prostate," said senior research scientist, Kattesh Katti, PhD, curator's professor of radiology and physics in the MU School of Medicine.

"When we combined the tea compound with radioactive gold nanoparticles, the tea compound helped 'deliver' the nanoparticles to the site of the tumors and the nanoparticles destroyed the tumor cells very efficiently," Dr. Katti said.

Today, men with prostate cancer may be injected with hundreds of radioactive seeds. This treatment doesn't work with more aggressive forms of prostate cancer, according to Cathy Cutler, research professor at the MU Research Reactor and co-author of the study.

With the gold nanoparticles, only one or two injections were needed, and the nanoparticles stayed close to the tumor. 

In an animal study, researchers found that the combination therapy shrunk tumors by some 80 percent in 28 days.

Before testing in human trials, the researchers will evaluate the therapy's safety and effectiveness in dogs that have a form of the disease that's very close to that seen in humans.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Review Date: 
July 17, 2012
Last Updated:
January 30, 2013