While conventional radiation therapy uses white X-rays that consist of a mixture of X-ray waves with various energy levels, a monochromatic X-ray (monoenergetic X-ray) has a single energy level. Irradiation of high-Z elements such as gold, silver or gadolinium with a synchrotron-generated monochromatic X-rays with the energy at or higher than their K-edge energy causes a photoelectric effect that includes release of the Auger electrons that induce DNA damage-leading to cell killing. Delivery of high-Z elements into cancer cells and tumor mass can be facilitated by the use of nanoparticles. Various types of nanoparticles containing high-Z elements have been developed. A recent addition to this growing list of nanoparticles is mesoporous silica-based nanoparticles (MSNs) containing gadolinium (Gd-MSN). The ability of Gd-MSN to inhibit tumor growth was demonstrated by evaluating effects of irradiating tumor spheroids with a precisely tuned monochromatic X-ray.
Keywords: high-Z elements; mesoporous silica nanoparticles; monochromatic X-ray; tumor spheroids.