Creating Dual-Metal Cancer-Fighting Nanoparticles with Saffron

Jenn Hoskins
2nd March, 2024

Creating Dual-Metal Cancer-Fighting Nanoparticles with Saffron

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Soochow University developed a new, eco-friendly cancer treatment using plant-derived nanoparticles
  • These nanoparticles effectively killed cervical cancer cells and triggered cell death at low doses
  • The treatment also halted cancer cell growth, suggesting a potential for fewer side effects
Cancer remains a formidable challenge in the medical world, with current treatments often falling short due to issues like drug resistance and severe side effects. In the quest for better therapies, researchers have been exploring the use of naturally occurring compounds and innovative technologies like nanotechnology. Terpenoids, derived from plants, have shown promise in combating cancer by interfering with the disease's progression and metastasis[2]. Meanwhile, zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) have emerged as a potential tool for cancer diagnosis and treatment, exhibiting unique properties that can specifically target and kill cancer cells[3]. Building on this knowledge, a team from Soochow University has made a significant advancement in the field of nanomedicine for cancer therapy[1]. They developed a novel type of bimetallic nanoparticle by combining palladium (Pd) and zinc oxide (ZnO) using an extract from the Crocus sativus plant. These nanoparticles, known as CS-Pd/ZnO nanocomposites (NCs), were created using a green synthesis approach, which is not only more environmentally friendly but also helps to prevent the agglomeration that often limits the biomedical application of chemically synthesized nanoparticles. The CS-Pd/ZnO NCs were thoroughly characterized through various analytical techniques, confirming their structure and composition. The study assessed the antioxidant properties of these nanoparticles using DPPH and ABTS tests. Antioxidants are important in cancer treatment because they can neutralize harmful reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage cells. The anticancer potential of CS-Pd/ZnO NCs was specifically tested against HeLa cells, a type of cervical cancer cell line. The researchers measured cell viability, ROS generation, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) levels, and induction of apoptosis—a process where cells are programmed to die, which is often targeted in cancer therapy. Apoptosis was determined using an Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate assay, and DNA staining with propidium iodide allowed the researchers to observe effects on the cell cycle. The results were promising. CS-Pd/ZnO NCs showed a significant ability to kill HeLa cells, with the highest inhibition of cell viability observed at a dosage of 4.5 µg/mL after 24 hours of treatment. At this dosage, 35.64% of HeLa cells underwent apoptosis, and there was a notable arrest in the cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase, which is indicative of the inhibition of cell growth and division. These findings from Soochow University suggest that CS-Pd/ZnO NCs have a strong potential as a new therapeutic agent for treating cervical cancer. Their ability to induce apoptosis and cause cell cycle arrest at low concentrations could mean a lower risk of side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy. The study's approach aligns with previous research on the use of ZnO NPs in cancer therapy, which highlighted their selective toxicity towards cancer cells and their use as carriers for targeted drug delivery[3]. The incorporation of palladium may enhance these properties, making the nanocomposites even more effective. Moreover, the green synthesis method using plant extracts, as demonstrated in prior studies like the use of Solanum nigrum for synthesizing ZnO nanoparticles[4], underscores the potential for a more sustainable and biocompatible approach to creating anticancer agents. The research on CS-Pd/ZnO NCs is a step forward in the integration of nanotechnology and natural compounds in cancer treatment. By combining the unique properties of bimetallic nanoparticles with the therapeutic benefits of plant extracts, this study opens up new avenues for developing more effective and less toxic cancer therapies. While further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and to move towards clinical applications, the results are a promising indication of the potential power of nanomedicine in the fight against cancer.



Main Study

1) Synthesis of Bimetallic Palladium/Zinc Oxide Nanocomposites Using Crocus sativus and Its Anticancer Activity via the Induction of Apoptosis in Cervical Cancer.

Published 29th February, 2024

Related Studies

2) Therapeutic Potential of Certain Terpenoids as Anticancer Agents: A Scoping Review.

3) Recent Advances in Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) for Cancer Diagnosis, Target Drug Delivery, and Treatment.

4) Synthesis and Characterization of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles of Solanum nigrum and Its Anticancer Activity via the Induction of Apoptosis in Cervical Cancer.

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