In vitro photothermal study of gold nanoshells functionalized with small targeting peptides to liver cancer cells

  • Shun-Ying Liu
  • Zhong-Shi Liang
  • Feng Gao
  • Shu-Fang Luo
  • Guo-Quan Lu


Gold nanoshells functionalized with a small peptide as a targeting agent were designed and synthesized for photothermal therapy of hepatocarcinoma. The nanoshells exhibited high absorption in the near-infrared (NIR) range, 800–1,100 nm, and were functionalized with 12-amino acid sequence peptides for targeting liver cancer cells. The nanoshells were characterized by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) and IR spectra. The functionalized gold nanoshells showed good targeting ability to liver cancer cells BEL-7404 and BEL-7402 while not to the normal healthy liver cell HL-7702, and also had a low cytotoxic activity. The fluorescence images showed that the gold nanoshells caused death to the liver cancer cells efficiently after being treated with a NIR light in vitro. These simple, stable, low cytotoxic, cancer-cell targeting gold nanoshells present a great promise as delivery agents for the selective photothermal treatment of liver cancer cells.

Supplementary material

10856_2009_3895_MOESM1_ESM.doc (6.7 mb)
The supporting characterization for nanoshells, the TEM image of the uptake of the cells and the fluorescence images of BEL-7402 cells treated with a NIR light are available free of charge via the Internet (DOC 6894 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shun-Ying Liu
    • 1
  • Zhong-Shi Liang
    • 1
  • Feng Gao
    • 1
  • Shu-Fang Luo
    • 1
  • Guo-Quan Lu
    • 2
  1. 1.Advanced Research Center of NBIC Integrated Drug Discovery and DevelopmentEast China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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