Nanoshells for Photothermal Cancer Therapy

  • Jennifer G. Morton
  • Emily S. Day
  • Naomi J. Halas
  • Jennifer L. West
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 624)


Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States and contributes to yearly rising health care costs. Current methods of treating cancer involve surgical removal of easily accessible tumors, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. These methods do not always result in full treatment of the cancer and can in many cases damage healthy cells both surrounding the tissue area and systemically. Nanoshells are optically tunable core/shell nanoparticles that can be fabricated to strongly absorb in the near-infrared (NIR) region where light transmits deeply into tissue. When injected systemically, these particles have been shown to accumulate in the tumor due to the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect and induce photothermal ablation of the tumor when irradiated with an NIR laser. Tumor specificity can be increased via functionalizing the nanoshell surface with tumor-targeting moieties. Nanoshells can also be made to strongly scatter light and therefore can be used in various imaging modalities such as dark-field microscopy and optical coherence tomography (OCT).

Key words

Nanoshells cancer photothermal therapy tumor targeting tumor imaging 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer G. Morton
    • 1
  • Emily S. Day
    • 1
  • Naomi J. Halas
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. West
    • 2
  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Department of BioengineeringRice UniversityHoustonUSA

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