4. A 21st century gold rush

The alchemists might have been aiming for something beyond wealth in attempting to turn base metals into gold. Recent research into the precious metal could lead to a new type of treatment for two of the deadliest cancers—i.e., pancreatic and ovarian—based on gold nanoparticles. Scientists already knew gold nanoparticles could be used to carry chemo drug molecules to tumors and to boost the effect of radiation on tumors, but new research shows that the gold nanoparticles interrupt cellular communication in the areas surrounding the pancreatic tumor. By butting in on the cell convo, the particles reduced cell proliferation and migration that usually occurs near these tumors. Added bonus—gold nanoparticles are not toxic to normal cells.

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