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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 646713, 7 pages
Research Article

Theranostic Approach for Cancer Treatment: Multifunctional Gold Nanorods for Optical Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

Faculty of Engineering and Institute of Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials, Bar-Ilan University, 52900 Ramat Gan, Israel

Received 20 August 2015; Accepted 25 October 2015

Academic Editor: Kimberly Hamad-Schifferli

Copyright © 2015 Oshra Betzer 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.


A critical problem in the treatment of cancer is the inability to identify microsized tumors and treat them without normal tissue destruction. While surgical excision of tumors is highly effective, residual micrometastases and remaining positive margins are the main cause of recurrence. In this study, we propose a theranostic approach for the detection and therapy of head and neck cancer (HNC). We developed a plasmonic-based nanoplatform for combined, ultrasensitive in vivo spectroscopic detection and targeted therapy of HNC. This detection method involves near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy of gold nanorods (GNRs) that selectively target and attach to squamous cell carcinoma HNC cells, through an immune complex. Diagnosis is based on a spectral shift analysis, which is generated by interparticle-plasmon-resonance patterns of the specifically targeted GNRs. Additionally, the ability to design the GNRs to strongly absorb light in the NIR region enables efficient irradiation of these GNRs, for selective photothermal therapy (PTT) of the cancer cells. We expect this targeted, noninvasive, and nonionizing spectroscopic detection method to provide a highly sensitive and simple diagnostic tool for micrometastasis. In addition, the concomitant development of targeted PTT, based on specific cancer markers, may pave the way for tailoring effective therapy for patients, toward an era of personalized medicine.