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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2012, Article ID 853416, 9 pages
Research Article

Gold/Chitosan Nanocomposites with Specific Near Infrared Absorption for Photothermal Therapy Applications

1Department of Bioengineering, Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
2Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and Speed School of Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA

Received 5 May 2012; Revised 27 July 2012; Accepted 27 August 2012

Academic Editor: Gaurav Mago

Copyright © 2012 Guandong Zhang 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.


Gold/chitosan nanocomposites were synthesized and evaluated as a therapeutic agent for the photothermal therapy. Gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) with controllable optical absorption in the near infrared (NIR) region were prepared by the reaction of chloroauric acid and sodium thiosulfate. To apply these particles to cancer therapy, the bare Au NPs were coated with chitosan (CS), O-carboxymethyl chitosan (CMCS), and a blend of CS and CMCS for utilizations in physiologic conditions. The surface properties, optical stability, and photothermal ablation efficiency on hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2) and human dermal fibroblast cells (HDF) demonstrate that these gold nanocomposites have great potential as a therapeutic agent in in vitro tests. The CS-coated nanocomposites show the highest efficiency for the photo-ablation on the HepG2 cells, and the CS and CMCS blended coated particles show the best discrimination between the cancer cell and normal cells. The well-controlled NIR absorption and the biocompatible surface of these nanocomposites allow low-power NIR laser activation and low-dosage particle injection for the cancer cell treatment.