Gold increasingly important in modern healthcare

News Arnulf Hinkel, financial journalist – 15.08.2018

Contrary to other heavy metals, the consumption of gold with a high degree of purity is not only harmless to the human body, the very precious metal is even attributed with healing powers, a view held by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for some 4,500 years. In recent decades, Western medical research has also increasingly discovered gold for its healthcare value. Especially in the form of nanoparticles, gold could very well play an important role in state-of-the-art diagnostics and treatment in the near future.

Gold will allow for faster detection of cancer

Gold nanoparticles have long been indispensable in rapid tests for  pregnancy and bacterial infections by salmonella or E.coli. HIV is also detected through rapid tests using colloidal gold nanoparticles. The respective research currently focuses on developing rapid and cost-effective diagnostic tests for various cancer types. According to the scientific project DaNa 2.0, specialized in nanomaterials and operated by the Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology Dechema, the Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Frankfurt and other scientific partners, a rapid test for early detection of prostate cancer is close to market maturity. Furthermore, other tumor targeting technologies based on gold nanoparticles are currently being developed.

Revolutionizing antivirals with the help of gold

Swiss scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have discovered a completely new approach to the development of broad-spectrum antivirals: gold nanoparticles are used to attract and modify viruses in the human body, effectively rendering them harmless.

Darren Rowles, CEO of the Canadian nanoparticles manufacturer SONA Nanotech, expects the demand for gold nanoparticles to increase annually by 18.84 per cent between 2017 and 2021.

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