Treating Tumors with Gold

NISE Network product
"Treating Tumors with Gold" presents promising research being conducted at Rice University in Texas. Through videos and demonstrations, the program considers the following questions: What is a tumor and what causes it to spread? What is a gold nanoshell and how does it kill tumor cells? What does the future hold for targeted cancer therapies?


Big Idea

Certain properties at the nanoscale allow researchers to exploit materials for new targeted cancer therapies.

Learning Goals

Scientists in nanotechnology bridge the gap between disciplines to try and solve research problems.

The size of a material (like gold) determines its properties and its interaction with light.

Gold nanoshells can be fabricated to absorb infrared light and produce heat.

The size of the nanoshell enables it to enter the tumor site.

Nano Content Map
Nanometer-sized things are very small, and often behave differently than larger things do.
Scientists and engineers have formed the interdisciplinary field of nanotechnology by investigating properties and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.
Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.
Nanotechnologies—and their costs, utility, risks, and benefits—are closely interconnected with society and with our values.



Development of this product was also supported by the Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and University of New Hampshire (EEC-0425826), with support from the National Science Foundation. Packaging and dissemination of this product for the NISE Network was supported by the National Science Foundation with funding from award ESI-0532536. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Owning institution

Museum of Science, Boston


Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US).
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Development Process
NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.