Gold Makes Great Jewelry, But It Can Also Fight Cancer

Although it's already coveted for its aesthetics, gold could turn out to be far more valuable than you think. Many scientists are working with gold on a microscopic scale in the field of biomedicine. Because gold is an inert metal, it doesn't react to much, which makes it a good candidate for ferrying helpful drugs into the body. Scientists have targeted tumors with rod-shaped gold nanoparticles that are carrying antibodies, and which attach themselves to cancer cells. Hitting these nanoparticles with near-infrared light causes the tumor to overheat and disintegrate. Further research is needed before this becomes a widespread cancer treatment, but gold remains an element with universally acknowledged potential in the medical world.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Gold is an inert metal, which means it has little to no reactivity with other elements. 00:47

  2. When exposed to the right wavelength of light, the electrons within gold nanoparticles will oscillate at the same frequency. 01:41

  3. Gold could help to purify water by breaking down organic contaminants. 03:28

Written by Curiosity Staff April 12, 2016

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