Biomedical applications of gold nanomaterials

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

9 Scopus citations


The gold nanoparticle (AuNP), due to its unique physical, chemical and biological properties, has demonstrated tremendous potential for the imaging, monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of various pathologies and diseases. The unique physical and optical properties of AuNPs, as well as their ability to attach multiple types of ligands to their surface, has led to various strategies for developing multifunctional AuNPs with multiple capabilities within a single platform. This special issue of Nanomedicine provides a comprehensive overview of the cutting-edge scientific activities and broad applications of AuNPs and their potential for clinical implementation. The first review by Stephan Barcikowski and his colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Friedrich-Löffler-Institut (Germany) examines this field from the perspective of the toxicity of AuNPs. This critical review highlights the general strategies to improve the comparability and standardization of nanotoxicological studies [1]. The second review is provided by Hossam Haick and his colleagues from the Technion in Israel. They present a concise review of arrays of crossreactive monolayer-capped AuNP sensors in conjugation with pattern recognition methods for cost-effective, fast and high-throughput point-of-care diagnostic results from exhaled breath samples. The review presents select examples on their utility in different fields of medicine, particularly in neurology, infectiology, respiratory medicine and oncology [2]. The third review by Sungjee Kim and his colleagues from Pohang University of Science and Technology (South Korea) focuses on the use of AuNPs as mediated photothermal therapy agents. Their up-to-date research findings from representative near-infrared-active AuNPs, which include nanoshells, nanorods, nanocages, nanostars, nanopopcorns and nanoparticle assembly systems, are discussed. Future prospects for research direction are discussed, especially for the clinical translation of AuNP photosensitizers [3]. The fourth review by Marcelo Kogan and Eyleen Araya and their colleagues from the Universidad de Chile (Chile), Universidad Andrés Bello (Chile) and University of Barcelona (Spain) describes how nanoparticles work in photothermally triggered drug delivery. They describe the four major functionalization strategies and each of their different applications. The requirements for the use of AuNPs for spatially and temporally controlling drug release through the photothermal effect are discussed [4]. The field of cancer theranostics using AuNPs is reviewed by Marites Melancon and her colleagues from the MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX, USA). This review describes the physicochemical properties of gold nanoshells in the context of their design, preparation and applications in cancer theranostics. Ultimately, this review looks beyond the current research on gold nanoshells and discusses the future challenges to be overcome before they can be successfully translated into clinical use [5]. The relatively new research field of nanoparticle-based in vivo cell tracking is reviewed by Rachela Popovtzer and her colleagues from Bar-Ilan University (Israel). This review focuses on AuNPs providing cells with ‘visibility' in a variety of imaging modalities for stem cell therapy, immune cell therapy and cancer treatment. Current challenges and future prospects relating to the use of AuNPs in such roles are discussed [6]. In summary, the synergy between the chemical, biological and physical properties of AuNPs makes them key players in the future of medical imaging, therapy and diagnosis. Although there are several hurdles that still need to be addressed before implementing these platforms in the clinic, the successes and clear promise provided in the above contributions indicate the broad potential of this field. Finally, the guest editor would like to thank all the reviewers for dedicating their expertise and time in support of the review process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1903-1904
Number of pages2
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Biomedical applications of gold nanomaterials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this