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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • cell death;
  • cell fusion;
  • femtosecond pulses;
  • gold nanoparticles

Abstract

Specifically targeting and manipulating living cells is a key challenge in biomedicine and in cancer research in particular. Several studies have shown that nanoparticles irradiated by intense lasers are capable of conveying damage to nearby cells for various therapeutic and biological applications. In this work ultrashort laser pulses and gold nanospheres are used for the generation of localized, nanometric disruptions on the membranes of specifically targeted cells. The high structural stability of the nanospheres and the resonance pulse irradiation allow effective means for controlling the induced nanometric effects. The technique is demonstrated by inducing desired death mechanisms in epidermoid carcinoma and Burkitt lymphoma cells, and initiating efficient cell fusion between various cell types. Main advantages of the presented approach include low toxicity, high specificity, and high flexibility in the regulation of cell damage and cell fusion, which would allow it to play an important role in various future clinical and scientific applications.