Blog contributed by the World Gold Council
The World Gold Council (WGC) and its member companies are committed to ensuring that gold mining is undertaken responsibly and with measurable economic benefit to host communities. As part of its commitment, WGC also supports breakthrough uses of gold to protect health and advance medical care around the world. Advances in nanotechnology and greater understanding of how to manipulate materials at the nano-scale have once again brought gold to the attention of scientists.
Researchers from the Israel Institute of Technology have developed sensors made from gold nanoparticles, which can be used to identify different diseases from a simple breath test. Varying amounts of 13 volatile organic compounds are present in illnesses such as lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease. The Institute’s sensors could identify the specific disease 86% of the time after allowing for factors such as age and gender. Although it is not yet accurate enough for use in real-life diagnoses, there is genuine potential for this new technology to be an efficient, non-invasive way of detecting early-stage disease.
Gold nanoparticles were also found to be effective vehicles for delivering and storing drugs to treat age-related sight loss, according to a study published by the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie. A gel containing gold nanoparticles was implanted into the eyes of patients with age-related macular degeneration. When warmed by visible light, the gel released a dose of sight-restoring drug.
To find out more about the many ways that gold is used in medicine, visit the World Gold Council’s website.