Radiotherapy (RT) is a primary method of tumor treatment. However, in clinical practice, radiotherapy still suffers the following shortcomings, such as serious side effect, the limited efficacy, as well as the tumor metastasis and recurrence due to the tumor microenvironment (hypoxia, low pH, high H2O2, etc.). Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop novel efficient, safe and low toxicity advanced tumor radiotherapy technology for tumor clinical treatment.
In a recent study, Prof. Dr. JIANG Yuqiang's group at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology (IGDB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) developed a novel gold nanocluster-based tumor radiodynamic therapy (RDT) and successfully applied it to efficient tumor treatment.
The researchers demonstrated a radiodynamic therapy system based on gold nanoclusters (AuNCs) and low dose X-ray. These AuNCs can not only achieve effective enrichment of tumor site under the induction of acidic tumor microenvironment, but also effectively kill solid tumor of liver cancer under low dose (≤ 1.0 Gy) X-ray irradiation and hypoxia tumor microenvironment.
Furthermore, they revealed that the radiodynamic mechanism was Type I mechanism (producing superoxide anion O2-· and hydroxyl radical HO·), rather than the common type II mechanism (producing singlet oxygen, 1O2).
More importantly, strong anti-tumor immune response and immune memory effect have been occurred during the process of RDT, which can not only help kill tumors in situ, but also effectively prevent tumor recurrence or metastasis. In addition, no obvious systemic toxicity was observed. Therefore, the AuNCs-based RDT is an ideal novel tumor treatment method, with the advantages of great biosafety, strong universality, large penetration depth, excellent therapeutic effect, and no drug resistance.
This study was funded by the Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the 2020 Research Program of Sanya Yazhou Bay Science, etc.
Gold nanoclusters-Based Radiodynamic Therapy (Image by IGDB)
Prof. JIANG Yuqiang
Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences