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Journal of Drug Delivery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 751075, 12 pages
Review Article

Noble Metal Nanoparticles Applications in Cancer

1CIGMH, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
2Instituto de Nanociencia de Aragón, Universidad de Zaragoza, Pedro Cerbuna 12, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain

Received 23 May 2011; Accepted 2 August 2011

Academic Editor: Paulo Cesar de Morais

Copyright © 2012 João Conde et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nanotechnology has prompted new and improved materials for biomedical applications with particular emphasis in therapy and diagnostics. Special interest has been directed at providing enhanced molecular therapeutics for cancer, where conventional approaches do not effectively differentiate between cancerous and normal cells; that is, they lack specificity. This normally causes systemic toxicity and severe and adverse side effects with concomitant loss of quality of life. Because of their small size, nanoparticles can readily interact with biomolecules both at surface and inside cells, yielding better signals and target specificity for diagnostics and therapeutics. This way, a variety of nanoparticles with the possibility of diversified modification with biomolecules have been investigated for biomedical applications including their use in highly sensitive imaging assays, thermal ablation, and radiotherapy enhancement as well as drug and gene delivery and silencing. Here, we review the available noble metal nanoparticles for cancer therapy, with particular focus on those already being translated into clinical settings.