Gold nanoparticles have received much attention recently as carriers for anticancer drugs and therapeutic oligonucleotides, but little research has investigated their potential to act as stand-alone therapeutics. Previous studies interrogating their short- and long-term systemic toxicity have found that although gold nanoparticles accumulate within and clear slowly from the liver and spleen, they do not appear to exert toxic effects in these organs. Interestingly, gold nanoparticles innately exhibit the ability to modulate the tumor microenvironment specifically by interfering with crosstalk between tumor cells and stromal cells. In this issue of ACS Nano, Mukherjee and colleagues demonstrate that bare gold nanoparticles can disturb crosstalk between pancreatic stellate cells and pancreatic cancer cells by modulating the cellular secretome to reduce the growth of desmoplastic tissue and inhibit tumor growth. In this Perspective, we highlight opportunities for anticancer targeting within the tumor microenvironment and discuss gold nanoparticles as potential mediators of microenvironment-targeted therapy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Materials Science
- General Engineering
- General Physics and Astronomy