Energy Dependence of Gold Nanoparticle Radiosensitization in Plasmid DNA

Stephen McMahon, W.B. Hyland, E. Brun, Karl Butterworth, Jonathan Coulter, T. Douki, David Hirst, S. Jain, Anthony Kavanagh, Z. Krpetic, M.H. Mendenhall, M.F. Muir, Kevin Prise, H. Requardt, L. Sanche, Giuseppe Schettino, Frederick Currell, C. Sicard-Roselli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) are of considerable interest for use as a radiosensitizer, because of their biocompatibility and their ability to increase dose deposited because of their high mass energy absorption coefficient. Their sensitizing properties have been verified experimentally, but a discrepancy between the experimental results and theoretical predictions suggests that the sensitizing effect does not depend solely on gold's superior absorption of energetic photons. This work presents the results of three sets of experiments that independently mapped out the energy dependence of the radiosensitizing effects of GNPs on plasmid DNA suspended in water. Incident photon energy was varied from 11.8 to 80 keV through the use of monochromatic synchrotron and broadband X-rays. These results depart significantly from the theoretical predictions in two ways: First, the sensitization is significantly larger than would be predicted; second, it does not vary with energy as would be predicted from energy absorption coefficients. These results clearly demonstrate that the effects of GNP-enhanced therapies cannot be predicted by considering additional dose alone and that a greater understanding of the processes involved is necessary for the development of future therapeutics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20160-20167
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Energy(all)


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