Targeted Delivery of Anti-cancer Drugs to Breast Cancer Cells Using Multifunctional Gold Nanoparticles

  • Nahla Rizk

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Breast cancer is one of the third leading cause of death in Abu Dhabi and it poses major health problems to people worldwide. The current cancer treatments which include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, can either prolong life or permanently cure cancer, but mostly these treatments have side effects such as pain, blood clots, and infection. Since the main goal of the cancer treatment is treating cancer completely without harming healthy cells and tissues of the body, research has been conducted to find new treatment methods that reduce these side effects of the current treatments. Recently, gold nanoparticles (AuNP) are being used for cancer therapy. They can be coated with anti-cancer drugs and targeting molecules simultaneously, because of their multi-functional properties, which can treat cancers efficiently. In this project, different shapes and sizes of gold nano-particles have been characterized, with different ratios of folic acid as a coating targeting molecule, TGF-β antibody, and methotrexate as coating anti-cancer drugs. The optimization of the generated drug delivery system aims to weaken breast cancer cells by the toxic effect, and by reducing the extracellular amount of TGF- β molecules that are surrounding and protecting the cancer cells from immune cells reach. 100 nm gold nanospheres showed highest uptake by cancer cells than other shapes of gold nanoparticles. Folic acid, methotrexate, and TGF-β antibody were conjugated to 100 nm gold nano spheres in different ratios to investigate the best ratio of conjugation that serves the goal of the project. Gold nanoparticles can be multi-functional based on the type of drugs and targeting molecules coating it, and the ratios of these coatings. Thus, they can be highly controlled to serve different goals in the biomedical fields. This research demonstrates an application of multi-functional gold nanoparticles.
Date of AwardOct 2015
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorSung Mun Lee (Supervisor)


  • Breast cancer, TGF-β1, folic acid, methotrexate, gold nanoparticles.

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