Why Scientists Are Adding Gold To Drugs For Immune System

The pharmaceutical industry may soon offer more effective products with less side effects. That is according to a new study where scientists used a unique material in an effort to enhance the effectiveness and safety of drugs. 

The report, published in the journal ACS Nano, showed that gold can be used to enhance medications. Researchers said they were able to utilize gold nanoparticles to enable drugs to tap the B lymphocyte immune cells in the body, which support antibody production. 

B lymphocytes play a key role in the immune system. This made it the top target for new drugs. And researchers said the gold nanoparticles could allow drugs to reach these cells faster than other techniques.  

"Nanoparticles can form a protective vehicle for vaccines - or other drugs - to specifically deliver them where they can be most effective, while sparing other cells," Carole Bourquin, co-lead researcher and a professor at the University of Geneva’s Faculties of Medicine and Science, said in a statement

She added their approach only requires lower dose of immunostimulant, which increases efficacy of the drug while reducing side effects. The nanoparticles appeared “harmless to all immune cells," Bourquin said. 

The Use of Gold for Future Drugs

The researchers said gold has physico-chemical properties that make it an excellent candidate for nanomedicine. The body can also tolerate the presence of gold. 

“Gold nanoparticles can be used to target tumors,” UNIGE researcher Sandra Hočevar said. “We could also attach a drug to the surface of the nanoparticles to be delivered to a specific location."

In the study, the gold nanoparticles were able to interact with B lymphocytes and support immune response. The researchers said using the material could soon help scientists place a vaccine or drug on the cells for treatment. 

None of the nanoparticles also did not cause adverse effects during experiments. The main benefit with the gold nanoparticles would be allowing drugs to reach B lymphocytes directly, which could then reduce the necessary dosage required and avoid potential side effects, the researchers said. 

“We can easily place the vaccine or drug to be delivered to the B lymphocytes in this coating," Bourquin said. 

Gold Scientists are adding gold to drugs to improve safety and reduce side effects. Pixabay