IOP Project

Going for gold: Nanoparticles used in the fight against cancer

Projectnumber: IPD067771
Contact: F.J.M. Damhuis
Phone: +31 (0)53 489 40 19

In the fight against cancer both image creating techniques and therapy are important. Part of the aim of the PRESMITTproject is to combine these two aspects. Gold bars on a nanoscale are the principal players in realising this ambitious goal. “Choosing gold in the IOP project PRESMITT stemmed from the fact that this material is inert and theoretically non-toxic”, says Prof Ton van Leeuwen, professor in Clinical Applications of the Biomedical Optics at the University of Twente.


Owing to a link to specific antibodies the nanoparticles are able to locate the cancer cells in the body. Photo acoustics can then form an image of the nanoparticles – and therefore also of the cancer cells. This imaging technology is based on the principle that a substance emits a sound wave when heated. “A laser source provides the required heating of the particles”, says Van Leeuwen. “We capture the reflection of the nanoparticles as reaction to the heating process as sound.”


The heating of the nanoparticles required for imaging may be useful to destroy cancer cells. Van Leeuwen: “It means the particles have to be heated to more than 43ºC but kept far below 100ºC for a specific period. We still have to find out which strategy offers an effective destruction of the cancer, while doing the least possible damage to the surrounding tissue. If we succeed in combining the imaging with therapy it will of course be a very attractive procedure.”

The description of this project is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file:

Adobe Acrobat PDF file  SN PD 4 (202 KB)


University of Twente
Erasmus Medical Centre
Luminostix BV