Cytotoxicity of gold nanoparticles in non-cancerous human cell lines (korte stage)

SCK•CEN Mentor

Aerts An,, +32 (0)14 33 23 90

Expert group


SCK•CEN Co-mentor

Daems Noami , , +32 (0)14 33 21 09


In cancer radiotherapy, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have emerged as promising radiosensitizers, which accumulate in the tumor and increase the effectiveness of external beam radiotherapy by local production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary electrons upon irradiation. At UNamur, 5 nm gold nanoparticles coated with an organic shell of polyallylamine are produced by plasma vapour deposition (AuNPs@PPAA). The AuNPs@PPAA can be conjugated to anti-EGFR antibodies (Cetuximab) (mAb-AuNPs@PPAA) which actively target EGFR-overexpressing cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. However, in vivo biodistribution studies using mirco-PET imaging have demonstrated a significant accumulation in the liver and the spleen in tumor-bearing nude NMRI mice. Therefore, prior to use the nanoconjugates in the clinic, the cytotoxicity of the AuNPs@PPAA-Ctxb should be investigated in vitro in non-cancerous human cell lines (kidney, liver and endothelial cells) and in vivo in a non-immunodeficient mouse model.


The aim of this study is to assess the cytotoxicity and gold uptake in non-cancerous human cell lines . Different biological assays are performed such as cell culture, MTS assay, flow cytometry, TEM imaging, ICP-MS quantification, live cell imaging, enzyme activity assays in order to estimate the maximal cytotoxic concentration in different cell lines.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

Academic bachelor

The candidate needs to have a background in


Estimated duration

3 months