Publication Date



ACS Nano


Nanoparticle delivery to solid tumors is a prime challenge in nanomedicine. Here, we approach this challenge through the lens of biogeochemistry, the field that studies the flow of chemical elements within ecosystems as manipulated by living cellular organisms and their environments. We leverage biogeochemistry concepts related to gold cycling against pancreatic cancer, considering mammalian organisms as drivers for gold nanoparticle biosynthesis. Sequestration of gold nanoparticles within tumors has been demonstrated as an effective strategy to enhance radiotherapy; however, the desmoplasia of pancreatic cancer impedes nanoparticle delivery. Our strategy overcomes this barrier by applying an atomic-scale agent, ionic gold, for intratumoral gold nanoparticle biosynthesis. Our comprehensive studies showed the cancer-specific synthesis of gold nanoparticles from externally delivered gold ions in vitro and in a murine pancreatic cancer model in vivo; a substantial colocalization of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) with cancer cell nuclei in vitro and in vivo; a strong radiosensitization effect by the intracellularly synthesized GNPs; a uniform distribution of in situ synthesized GNPs throughout the tumor volume; a nearly 40-day total suppression of tumor growth in animal models of pancreatic cancer treated with a combination of gold ions and radiation that was also associated with a significantly higher median survival versus radiation alone (235 vs 102 days, respectively).


biomineralization, gold nanoparticles, in situ therapies, radiosensitization, pancreatic cancer

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Neurosurgery Commons



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