Ultrasmall Gold Nanoparticles Radiolabeled with Iodine-125 as Potential New Radiopharmaceutical

Runze Wang, Huanhuan Liu, Bas Antal, Hubert Th Wolterbeek, Antonia G. Denkova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The relatively high linear energy transfer of Auger electrons, which can cause clustered DNA damage and hence efficient cell death, makes Auger emitters excellent candidates for attacking metastasized tumors. Moreover, gammas or positrons are usually emitted along with the Auger electrons, providing the possibility of theragnostic applications. Despite the promising properties of Auger electrons, only a few radiopharmaceuticals employing Auger emitters have been developed so far. This is most likely explained by the short ranges of these electrons, requiring the delivery of the Auger emitters to crucial cell parts such as the cell nucleus. In this work, we combined the Auger emitter 125I and ultrasmall gold nanoparticles to prepare a novel radiopharmaceutical. The 125I labeled gold nanoparticles were shown to accumulate at the cell nucleus, leading to a high tumor-killing efficiency in both 2D and 3D tumor cell models. The results from this work indicate that ultrasmall nanoparticles, which passively accumulate at the cell nucleus, have the potential to be applied in targeted radionuclide therapy. Even better tumor-killing efficiency can be expected if tumor-targeting moieties are conjugated to the nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1240-1249
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Auger electron
  • Auger therapy
  • iodine-125
  • radionuclide therapy
  • ultrasmall gold nanoparticle


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