Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease


Image: Anthocyanins are a colorful way to prevent cardiovascular disease

It is often said that presentation is everything when it comes to meals, but there’s an even better reason to fill your plate with colorful foods. The pigment that gives foods like berries their rich red and purple hues also doubles as powerful protection against cardiovascular disease.

Studies have shown that this pigment, anthocyanin, not only offers antioxidant effects; it also protects people from chronic diseases. Indeed, one of its most impressive feats is lowering the risk of the cardiovascular conditions that take millions of lives each year, such as stroke, heart attack, and atherosclerosis.

In a systematic review that involved more than 600,000 participants, British researchers looked at the impact that dietary anthocyanins had on cardiovascular events. They discovered that those who had the greatest dietary anthocyanin intake enjoyed a 9 percent reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease; when it came to death due to heart disease, their risk was 8 percent lower compared to those who consumed the lowest amount of anthocyanin.

The study, which was published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, is the strongest argument yet for increasing your fruit intake. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests that people eat a minimum of two servings of fruit per day; just 32 percent of Americans reach that goal.

Choose the right fruits

It’s easy to spot fruits that contain anthocyanins because of their red, purple and blue colors. Some of the best sources include strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, raspberries and bilberries. They can also be found in red cabbage, eggplant, and purple potatoes. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that the fruit’s skins contain the most anthocyanins given their rich color, so make sure you also eat the skin – and be sure to choose organic to avoid pesticide exposure. The review’s authors say that just one to two portions of berries per day are enough to get the anthocyanins you need to protect your heart.

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https://www.brighteon.com/embed/5833241483001

Anthocyanin’s many benefits

The review is supported by several other studies, including one from 2012 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That study showed a link between a higher intake of anthocyanin and significantly lower systolic blood pressure, arterial pressure, and pulse wave velocity. It also confirmed an earlier study that showed eight weeks of taking blueberry supplements reduced participants’ systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 and 4 percent respectively.

In addition, anthocyanins can help prevent neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. They accomplish this by improving the communication between nerves and boosting blood flow to the brain. Their antioxidant effect also means they can stop brain damage caused by oxidative stress.

If you’re still not sold on the benefits of anthocyanins, consider this: They can fight cancer cells by attacking them and spurring cell death, in addition to activating the enzymes that rid your body of cancer-causing substances.

Studies have also shown that consuming foods rich in anthocyanins can lower your insulin resistance and protect beta cells in the pancreas, which helps normalize blood levels. That means anthocyanin-rich fruits can help inhibit diabetes.

Cardiovascular disease continues to be one of the top causes of death in America, affecting 84 million Americans and causing roughly one out of every three deaths. Those are very frightening statistics, so you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to consume more anthocyanins and take other steps known to reduce your risk, like exercising and eating as healthier diet overall.

CONFIRMED: Quercetin-tocotrienols combination combats cancer


Image: CONFIRMED: Quercetin-tocotrienols combination combats cancer

The battle against cancer is heading into new territory, as scientists explore the healing ability of substances that support the body’s cells, instead of killing them off. Researchers from the Italian National Institute of Health and Science on Aging (INRCA) have made a breakthrough discovery for preventing the spread of malignant tumors. A natural plant-based combination, including quercetin and tocotrienols, effectively targets aging cells that cause chronic inflammation and cancer. This dynamic, anti-cancer duo causes stubborn cancer cells to die off and simultaneously promotes the growth of normal cells.

This dynamic duo heals the body at the cellular level by triggering a die-off sequence within aging and malignant cells. If old, decrepit cells become inefficient at performing cellular division, new cells cannot be created. If these senile cells refuse to die off, a condition called cellular senescence sets in. This causes an accumulation of aged cells that emit pro-inflammatory chemicals into the body. This process promotes aging in the body and increases cancer risk. Quercetin and tocotrienols help to remove aging cells so healthy cells have space to flourish.

Moreover, quercetin and tocotrienols identify malignant cancer cells and speed up their cellular senescence. This dynamic duo effectively target unwanted cancer cells and speed up their death, preventing cancer cell replication. The two natural substances remove inflammatory, aging cells and stop malignant cells from growing. This combination is a highly intelligent form of medicine that deciphers dangerous cells and manipulates cellular senescence so that the body can heal itself. The combination can be employed as an adjunct therapy for cancers of many origins. This combination can be used to prevent cancer from taking hold and stop early cancers in their tracks.

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Anti-cancer intelligence of tocotrienols

Tocotrienols are an anti-inflammatory type of vitamin E that can be found in wheat germ, barley, oat, rye, cranberries, blueberries, kiwi, plum, coconut, and some nuts. It is also isolated in supplement form. Research confirms that this form of vitamin E can reverse cell cycle arrest and reduce DNA damage, especially for treatment of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and melanoma. However, assimilation of tocotrienols in the human intestine is poor because they are lipophilic in nature (they dissolve in lipids and fats). Researchers must find ways to increase the bio-availability of tocotrienols to increase this vitamin’s therapeutic effects. Intestinal absorption depends upon the secretion of bile and transporters such as ?-tocopherol transfer protein (?-TTP); therefore, assimilation of tocotrienols occurs more readily with food. Nutritionists recommend a daily dose of 150 mg of tocotrienols. One should expect to see therapeutic benefits with supplementation after ninety days.

The healing nature of quercetin

Quercetin is a plant-based flavonoid and antioxidant that helps plants defend against disease. When quercetin is combined with tocotrienols, synergy is created; together these natural substances slow the aging process, prolong the life of healthy cells, and induce apoptosis of malignant cancer cells. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, quercetin can benefit seasonal allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and congestion. Quercetin is commonly found in apples, tea, onions, nuts, berries, cauliflower and cabbage and can be isolated and consumed in the form of a supplement. To rid the body of aging cells, nutritionists recommend a daily dose of quercetin (500 to 800 mg) for up to three consecutive months, followed by a maintenance dose of 150 mg a day. It is best to consult a healthcare professional, as many medications can adversely interact with the body when healing substances are introduced.

Sources include:

NaturalHealth365.com

NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov

NaturalPedia.com

NaturalPedia.com

Pharmacology.Imed.Pub

Electronic tongue can tell if your honey is adulterated


Image: Electronic tongue can tell if your honey is adulterated

In response to all of the fake honey that have been infiltrating the market for the longest time, Spanish researchers have come up with an electronic tongue that can tell the difference. An article in Alpha Galileo reported that the device is inexpensive, is quick to pick up on the presence of adulterated honey, and can even tell you how much fake sweetener is present.

Current methods of determining the authenticity of a honey product requires days of thoroughly analyzing the sample. In comparison, the new device takes just an hour to figure out if the honey is truly pure or has been diluted by scammers.

The Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) researchers demonstrated the capability of their new device in a test. Their results showed that the electronic tongue can tell between pure honey and the syrups and sugar molasses that are commonly used to dilute the profitable product.

“This leads to noticeable losses for the honey bee sector,” remarked Lara Sobrino. A researcher who works at UPV’s Developmental Food Engineering Institute, she added that the scam not only violates EU laws, it also causes consumers to lose faith in the honey bee sector, which will hurt the industry in the long run. (Related: Understanding the differences between sugars: white, brown, raw, molasses, honey, agave.)

This electronic tongue can tell genuine honey from watered-down fakes

The official name of the device is the “electronic voltammetric tongue.” Its creators described it as an effective and affordable alternative to the bulkier gear used by most scam hunters. It will not only spot the presence of syrups in real honey, but will also determine the percentage of the product that has been compromised.

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In the test, the device compared pure honey from heather, orange blossom, and sunflower with dietary syrups made from barley, brown rice, and corn. It successfully differentiated the true honey from the syrups used to fake them.

The electronic tongue is able to clean itself very thoroughly. This reduces the chances of erroneous analysis caused by leftovers from the previous sample.

Finally, it enables statistical analysis of the resulting information. The combination allowed the device to detect any symptoms of fraud in a product.

“Out work offers a pioneering analytical technique that makes it possible to find out quickly and reliably the honey’s authenticity,” said Juan Soto, another UPV researcher from the university’s Molecular Recognition and Technological Development Institute who worked alongside Sobrino. He believed that the electronic tongue offers an answer to suspicions about the purity of honey products.

New device can improve the efficiency of existing methods for hunting fake honey

Members of the honey bee sector can use the UPV detector to ensure the quality of their products, thereby restoring the faith of their customers. They will also be able to catch scammers who are taking advantage of the confusion to make big bucks off gullible consumers.

“If there is the suspicion that a honey could be adulterated, our system detects the symptoms reliably,” Soto said. He also noted that their electronic tongue will work best alongside other detectors as a first line of defense against fakes.

Magnetic resonance detectors are slower and much more expensive than the UPV device. But they can perform in-depth analyses of samples that are beyond the specialized capabilities of the electronic tongue.

Soto believes that his team’s device can screen suspicious samples first. If it catches any fake honey, it can pass the offender over to another identification technique for confirmation.

Developed a taste for the latest news about honey? You can satisfy your craving for more stories at Bees.news.

Sources include:

AlphaGalileo.org

ScienceDirect.com

Electronic tongue can tell if your honey is adulterated


Image: Electronic tongue can tell if your honey is adulterated

In response to all of the fake honey that have been infiltrating the market for the longest time, Spanish researchers have come up with an electronic tongue that can tell the difference. An article in Alpha Galileo reported that the device is inexpensive, is quick to pick up on the presence of adulterated honey, and can even tell you how much fake sweetener is present.

Current methods of determining the authenticity of a honey product requires days of thoroughly analyzing the sample. In comparison, the new device takes just an hour to figure out if the honey is truly pure or has been diluted by scammers.

The Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) researchers demonstrated the capability of their new device in a test. Their results showed that the electronic tongue can tell between pure honey and the syrups and sugar molasses that are commonly used to dilute the profitable product.

“This leads to noticeable losses for the honey bee sector,” remarked Lara Sobrino. A researcher who works at UPV’s Developmental Food Engineering Institute, she added that the scam not only violates EU laws, it also causes consumers to lose faith in the honey bee sector, which will hurt the industry in the long run. (Related: Understanding the differences between sugars: white, brown, raw, molasses, honey, agave.)

This electronic tongue can tell genuine honey from watered-down fakes

The official name of the device is the “electronic voltammetric tongue.” Its creators described it as an effective and affordable alternative to the bulkier gear used by most scam hunters. It will not only spot the presence of syrups in real honey, but will also determine the percentage of the product that has been compromised.

Mother Nature’s micronutrient secret: Organic Broccoli Sprout Capsules now available, delivering 280mg of high-density nutrition, including the extraordinary “sulforaphane” and “glucosinolate” nutrients found only in cruciferous healing foods. Every lot laboratory tested. See availability here.

In the test, the device compared pure honey from heather, orange blossom, and sunflower with dietary syrups made from barley, brown rice, and corn. It successfully differentiated the true honey from the syrups used to fake them.

The electronic tongue is able to clean itself very thoroughly. This reduces the chances of erroneous analysis caused by leftovers from the previous sample.

Finally, it enables statistical analysis of the resulting information. The combination allowed the device to detect any symptoms of fraud in a product.

“Out work offers a pioneering analytical technique that makes it possible to find out quickly and reliably the honey’s authenticity,” said Juan Soto, another UPV researcher from the university’s Molecular Recognition and Technological Development Institute who worked alongside Sobrino. He believed that the electronic tongue offers an answer to suspicions about the purity of honey products.

New device can improve the efficiency of existing methods for hunting fake honey

Members of the honey bee sector can use the UPV detector to ensure the quality of their products, thereby restoring the faith of their customers. They will also be able to catch scammers who are taking advantage of the confusion to make big bucks off gullible consumers.

“If there is the suspicion that a honey could be adulterated, our system detects the symptoms reliably,” Soto said. He also noted that their electronic tongue will work best alongside other detectors as a first line of defense against fakes.

Magnetic resonance detectors are slower and much more expensive than the UPV device. But they can perform in-depth analyses of samples that are beyond the specialized capabilities of the electronic tongue.

Soto believes that his team’s device can screen suspicious samples first. If it catches any fake honey, it can pass the offender over to another identification technique for confirmation.

Developed a taste for the latest news about honey? You can satisfy your craving for more stories at Bees.news.

Sources include:

AlphaGalileo.org

ScienceDirect.com

An ancient pear endemic to Italy is a little-known superfood with high concentrations of antioxidant compounds


Image: An ancient pear endemic to Italy is a little-known superfood with high concentrations of antioxidant compounds

The Apennine mountains of central Italy are home to an ancient and rare variant of the European pear (Pyrus communis) called the Cocomerina pear. A study conducted by local researchers revealed that this pink-fleshed pear is a superfood bursting with natural antioxidants.

“Cocomerina” is derived from “cocomero,” the term for watermelon. This variant of pear is called that because of its sweet-smelling and pink flesh, which grows more vivid in color as the fruit ripens.

It is one of the so-called “ancient fruits,” which are very old and only found in a few small areas. The Cocomerina variant of the European pear is restricted to the Apennine area of Romagna and Tuscany. The early-ripening cultivar is harvested in August, while the late-ripening one is collected in October.

Many pears contain large amounts of anthocyanins, flavonoids, and polyphenols.  These plant-based compounds have powerful antioxidant properties that protect cell tissue and membranes from free radicals. (Related: The strange-looking tropical fruit graviola is a POWERFUL superfood against cancer.)

Methodology

Researchers from the Universita di Urbino – Carlo Bo (UdU Carlo Bo) studied the nutritional value of the Cocomerina pear. They harvested ripe specimens of the early-ripening cultivar, as well as both ripe and unripe examples of the late-ripening cultivar.

The cores were removed from the sample fruits before they were chopped up and prepared into fruit extracts. Each extract was analyzed to determine the amount and types of anthocyanins, flavones, flavonoids, flavonols, and polyphenols that it contained.

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Armed with the knowledge of the bioactive plant compounds present in the fruits, the researchers tested the extracts for their antioxidant activity. They measured the effectiveness of each extract when it came to scavenging DPPH free radicals, as well as its capacity to absorb oxygen radicals.

Furthermore, they evaluated the ability of the extracts to prevent inflammation. In the 5’-lipoxygenase assay, they measured the amount of extract required to inhibit 50 percent of the inflammatory activity of lipoxygenase.

Phytochemical content of Cocomerina pear extract

To begin with, the UdU Carlo Bo researchers noted the different amounts of phytochemicals found in the cultivars of the Cocomerina pear. The late-ripening cultivar has higher levels of polyphenolic compounds. Likewise, its ripe fruits contain more polyphenols than unripe samples.

The unripe fruits of the late-ripening cultivar have the best number of flavonoids. Interestingly, the ripe fruits of both ER and LR strains contain similar levels of flavonoids.

When it came to flavones and flavonols, the ripe fruit of the early-ripening cultivar demonstrated the highest level. Dihydroflavonol levels were much higher in the late cultivar, however.

Comparison of the unripe and ripe fruits of the late-ripening cultivar showed that the levels increased alongside the maturity of the fruit. So ripe fruits of the Cocomerina pear contains more phytochemicals than unripe fruits.

The amount of anthocyanin in late-ripening cultivar is 126 times greater than in the early-ripening one. Ripe LR cultivars contain more anthocyanins than unripe ones.

Free radical scavenging and antioxidant activity

All three extracts were able to scavenge DPPH free radicals. The ethanolic extracts made from the unripe and ripe pears of the late-ripening cultivar were much more effective.

Next, the extracts were also effective at inhibiting the activity of the inflammatory enzyme 5’-lipoxygenase. Again, the late-ripening cultivar’s extracts displayed greater effectiveness.

The antioxidant activity was greatest in the ripe fruits of the late-ripening cultivar. When compared with commercial pear cultivars, the Cocomerina pear extracts showed comparable or superior activity.

The researchers concluded that the Cocomerina pear possesses significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. These health benefits could encourage the conservation and recovery of this ancient fruit.

For more stories about cocomerina pear and other fruits that serve as superfoods, check out Fruits.news.

Sources include:

Science.news

Academic.OUP.com

TAndFOnline.com

Pubs.ACS.org

Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants ‘Talk’ To Animal Cells, Promote Healing


Amazing Food Science Discovery: Edible Plants 'Talk' To Animal Cells, Promote Healing

A groundbreaking new study published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research titled, “Interspecies communication between plant and mouse gut host cells through edible plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles,” reveals a new way that food components ‘talk’ to animal cells by regulating gene expression and conferring significant therapeutic effects. With the recent discovery that non-coding microRNA’s in food are capable of directly altering gene expression within human physiology,[1] this new study further concretizes the notion that the age old aphorism ‘you are what you eat’ is now consistent with cutting edge molecular biology.

Exosomes: The ‘Missing Link’ In How Plants and Animal Cells Communicate and Collaborate

This is the first study of its kind to look at the role of exosomes, small vesicles secreted by plant and animal cells that participate in intercellular communication, in interspecies (plant-animal) communication.

The study explained the biological properties of exosomes as follows:

“Exosomes are produced by a variety of mammalian cells including immune, epithelial, and tumor cells [11–15]. Exosomes play a role in intercellular communication and can transport mRNA, miRNA, bioactive lipids, and proteins between cells [16–19]. Upon contact, exosomes transfer molecules that can render new properties and/or reprogram their recipient cells.”

While most of the research on exosomes has focused on their role in pathological states such as tumor promotion, they were recently found to play a key role in stimulating regeneration within damaged cardiac tissue,[2] and are known to be found in human breast milk, further underscoring how irreplaceable it is vis-à-vis synthesized infant formula.[3]

The New Study

The investigators isolated plant derived exosome-like nanoparticles (EPDENs) from ginger, carrot, grape and grapefruit, and observed their behavior in mammalian cells (mice).

They chose these commonly consumed edible fruits and vegetables because,

“It is well established that a plant-derived diet has great influence on regulation of mammalian host cell homeostasis, in particular, cells in the digestive system [1–3]. Deregulation of plant-derived diet regulated host cell homeostasis leads to increased susceptibility to infections, chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, and cancer [4–10].

They noted, “the cellular and molecular machinery regulating such interspecies mutualism between a plant-derived diet and the mammalian gut is not fully defined.” Their new study aimed to gain new insight into defining the mechanisms through which cross-kingdom crosstalk occurs.

Plant Exosomes Affect Mammalian Cells Intimately

After isolating and characterizing exosome-like nanoparticles from all four edible plants, the researchers discovered they possessed remarkable similarity in size and structure to mammalian-derived exosomes. Furthermore, the study showed “that these exosome-like nanoparticles are taken up by intestinal macrophages and stem cells, and have biological effects on the recipient cells.”

The biological effects were described as follows:

  • Ginger exosome-like nanoparticles strongly induced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and IL-10 expressed in macrophages, an indication of anti-inflammatory and antoxidant properties.
  • Fruit-derived exosome-like nanoparticles including grape and grapefruit induced Wnt/TCF4 activation, which is a key component of the anti-inflammatory response
  • All tested foods activated nuclear translocation of Nrf2, a key regulator of the HO1 gene, which has an important role in anti-inflammation and antioxidation; ginger was found to be most potent, followed by grapefruit, carrot and grape

Notably, EPDENs were found to be resistant to gastric and intestinal enzymatic digestion, further indicating they are capable of exerting significant biological effects by escaping digestive degradation, which has also been found with lectins and microRNA’s within edible foods.

The researchers discussed their results:

“Our findings show that exosome-like nanoparticles are present in edible fruits and vegetables and reveal a previously unrecognized strategy by which plants communicate with mammalian cells via exosome-like nanoparticles in the gut, and in particular intestinal macrophages and stem cells. We found that edible plants contain large amounts of nanoparticles. Like mammalian exosomes, further characterization of the plant nanoparticles led to identifying them as exosome- like nanoparticles based on the nanoparticles being com- posed of proteins, lipids, and miRNAs. EPDENs from different types of plants have different biological effects on the recipient mammalian cells. This finding opens up a new avenue to further study the molecular mechanisms underlying how the plant kingdom crosstalks with mammalian cells such as intestinal macrophages and stem cells via EPDENs. This information may provide the molecular basis of using multiple plant-derived agents for better therapeutic effect than any single plant-derived agent.”

They also offered that their results may explain why those who consume a greater variety of edible plants are healthier:

“It has been known for decades that people eating a variety of edible plants daily are the recipients of many beneficial health effects when compared to subjects that ingest fewer types of edible plants. Ingesting EPDENs from a variety of fruits and vegetables daily would be expected to provide greater beneficial effects for maintaining gut homeostasis than ingesting EPDENs from single edible plant.”

Discussion: Deeper Implications of the Study

As part of the fascinating new fields of epigenetics and nutrigenomics, this new study’s findings promise to expand the relevance of food in the practice of medicine and the prevention of disease. We have crossed a critical threshold in the past few decades where food can no longer considered simply as a source of caloric content, minerals and vitamins, and building blocks for the body-machine. [Learn more by taking the author’s E-Course] Rather, food carries very specific forms of biologically meaningful information (literally ‘to put form into’), without which our genetic and epigenetic infrastructure cannot function according to its intelligent design.

The discovery of plant-dervied exosome-mediated modulation of fundamental mammalian cellular pathways, lends powerful support to the concept that ancestral nutritional practices handed down for countless generations are critical in maintaining our health. With the advent of the post-industrial diet, based largely on ‘food-like’ synthesized nutrition, and the novel introduction of grain-based nutrition in only the past 500 generations, our present diet suffers from a series of profoundly biological incompatible foods.

Millions of years of co-evolutionary processes have generated a wide range of interspecies, cross-kingdom co-dependencies. For instance, mammals and angiosperms (which comprise about 250,000 species and include most of the flowering plants that provide the modern world its diet) co-evolved for at least 200 million years together, and are today two of the most dominant forms of life on the planet. The very molecular and informational fabric of our bodies evolved to intimately depend on the presence of various key food components in the human diet, and the absence of others which may be detrimental to our health. Food components like exosomes may be as important to our health as vitamins and other classically defined ‘nutrients,’ and may even be more important in modulating a wide range of complex genetic- and epigenetic-mediated cellular processes within the body. This may also explain the mystery of how certain fruits, such as pomegranate, have been found to replace the function of the mammalian ovary in an ovariectomy induced models of premature aging.  While pomegranate is one of nature’s most concentrated source of bioidentical estrone, exosomes may be the ‘missing link’ as to how a plant food can support complex hormonal processes within the animal body, along with exerting such a wide range of additional therapeutic health effects. This is all the more evidence with plants like turmeric, which have over 600 health benefits and has been found to modulate the expression of thousands of genes simultaneously.[4]

We believe that taken together, the recent discoveries that 1) microRNA’s within foods like rice can enter into our blood and tissue and regulate gene expression 2) that double-stranded RNAs within a wide range of commonly consumed foods have molecular homology with thousands of human RNAs (and are therefore capable of silencing them) 3) that lectins also can directly activate nuclear machinery within certain cells, the addition of exosome-mediated gene modulation, lends further support to the concept that the quality and types of food we consume carry as much relevance in terms of ‘biological destiny’ as the DNA within our genome.

With exciting research now available, the famous quote attributed to Thomas Edison rings truer today than ever:

“The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Gold-plated nano-bits find, destroy cancer cells.


Carl Batt

Batt
Dickson Kirui

Kirui

Comparable to nano-scale Navy Seals, Cornell scientists have merged tiny gold and iron oxide particles to work as a team, then added antibody guides to steer the team through the bloodstream toward colorectal cancer cells. And in a nanosecond, the alloyed allies then kill the bad guys – cancer cells – with absorbed infrared heat.

This scenario is not science fiction – welcome to a medical reality.

“It’s a simple concept. It’s colloidal chemistry. By themselves, gold and iron-oxide alloys are benign and inert, and the infrared light is low-power heating,” said Carl Batt, Cornell’s Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Food Science and the senior author on the paper. “But put these inert alloys together, attach an antibody to guide it to the right target, zap it with infrared light and the cancer cells die. The cells only need to be heated up a few degrees to die.”

Batt and his colleagues – Dickson K. Kirui, Ph.D. ’11, a postdoctoral fellow at Houston Methodist Research Institute and the paper’s first author; Ildar Khalidov, radiology, Weill Cornell Medical College; and Yi Wang, biomedical engineering, Cornell – published their study in Nanomedicine (print edition, July 2013).

For cancer therapy, current hyperthermic techniques – applying heat to the whole body – heat up cancer cells and healthy tissue, alike. Thus, healthy tissue tends to get damaged. This study shows that by using gold nanoparticles, which amplify the low energy heat source efficiently, cancer cells can be targeted better and heat damage to healthy tissues can be mitigated. By adding the magnetic iron oxide particles to the gold, doctors watching MRI and CT scanners can follow along the trail of this nano-sized crew to its target.

When a near-infrared laser is used, the light penetrates deep into the tissue, heating the nanoparticle to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit – an ample temperature to kill many targeted cancer cells. This results in a threefold increase in killing cancer cells and a substantial tumor reduction within 30 days, according to Kirui. “It’s not a complete reduction in the tumor, but doctors can employ other aggressive strategies with success. It also reduces the dosage of highly toxic chemicals and radiation – leading to a better quality of life,” he explained.