Research Highlights

doi:10.1038/nindia.2014.24 Published online 19 February 2014

Nanoparticles for cervical cancer

Researchers have synthesized gold nanoparticles that can inhibit the growth of human cervical cancer cells1 . They produced the nanoparticles using the extract of a medicinal plant traditionally used to treat cancer patients.

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in humans. Infection by the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus increases the risk of developing invasive cervical cancer. In India, about 365 million women above 15 years of age are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Every year more than 100,000 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed, and 74,000 Indian women succumb to the cancer. Existing effective therapies, such as chemotherapy, have harmful side effects.

To develop a simple and cost-effective treatment for cervical cancer, the researchers prepared the gold nanoparticles using the extract of the medicinal plant. The extract helped synthesize crystalline gold nanoparticles with diameters between 5 and 35 nm. The researchers then investigated the anticancer properties of these nanoparticles by exposing them to cultured human cervical cancer cells.

The nanoparticles exhibited effective anticancer properties against cervical cancer cells. They stifled the growth of the cancer cells by arresting the cell cycle and damaging their DNA. Nanoparticle treatment activated certain enzymes that induced the cancer cells to commit mass suicide.

The researchers say that the gold nanoparticles made using the plant extract can be developed as a drug candidate for human cervical cancer therapy.


  1. Jevaraj, M. et al. An evidence on G2/M arrest, DNA damage and caspase mediated apoptotic effect of biosynthesized gold nanoparticles on human cervical carcinoma cells (HeLa). Mater. Res. Bull. 52, 15-24 (2014)  | Article |