Silver Nanoparticles Kill Lung Cancer Cells in vitro, Slow Tumor Grown in vivo

In this clinical study, titled “Effects of green-synthesized silver nanoparticles on lung cancer cells in vitro and grown as xenograft tumors in vivo,” published in May 2016 in the International Journal of Nanomedicine, cancer researchers from Rutgers State University of New Jersey and the Guandong University of Technology in China combined forces to test silver nanoparticles against lung cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

For the in vivo (i.e., live animal) testing, the researchers used immunodeficient mice into which lung cancer tumor was grafted. The researchers wrote: “Unlike other metal nanoparticles, AgNPs are nontoxic to human body at a lower dosage…the applications of AgNPs have increased in cancer diagnosis and treatment, not only as attractive targeted drug delivery vehicles or probes for early cancer screening, but also as a promising therapeutic molecule by itself. [In previous studies] AgNPs have shown potential cytotoxicity against various cancer cells such as lung cancer A549 cells, breast cancer MCF-7 cells, colon cancer HT29 cells, cervical cancer HeLa cells, and Dalton’s lymphoma ascites tumor…The present study was designed to explore the anticancer activities of our green-synthesized AgNPs in vitro and in vivo.

These results further provide new approaches for treating lung cancer and other types of cancers by using silver-based nanoparticle therapies…AgNPs significantly suppressed the H1299 tumor growth in a xenograft severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mouse model. The results demonstrate the anticancer activities of AgNPs, suggesting that they may act as potential beneficial molecules in lung cancer chemoprevention and chemotherapy, especially for early-stage intervention…Approximately, 50% of H1299 cells died when treated with AgNPs at the concentrations between 5 and 8 µg/mL.”

In other words, not only did the silver nanoparticles suppress the tumor growth in the immunodeficient mice, causing tumor growth to slow dramatically as cancer cells died, but also a full 50% of the cancer cells tested in vitro (test tube) were killed at very low concentrations of silver (i.e., 8 ppm).

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