First Advisor

Marilyn Rampersad Mackiewicz

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biochemistry and University Honors




Nanostructured materials, Nanoparticles -- Synthesis, Iron chelates -- Therapeutic use, Cancer -- Treatment




Iron catalyzes cytosolic reactions that promote cancer cell proliferation. The latter is responsible for the poor survival rate of cancer patients. One approach to reduce iron enhanced tumor growth is through the use of iron chelators that are site-directed to the tumor site. This paper reports a simple method for designing gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) as molecular vehicles to transport folic acid targeting moieties and 5-amino-8-hydroxyquinoline (AHQ) iron chelators to cancer cells. The AHQ chelators and folic acid targeting moieties are conjugated to glutathione synthon for surface conjugation to AuNPs. Thin layer chromatography (TLC), and infrared (IR), and 1H-NMR spectroscopies determined the surface-modified AuNPs were pure with no excess ligands and provide evidence for conjugation of the chelator and targeting moiety to the AuNPs surface. Fluorescence spectroscopy determined the presence of the ligands on the AuNPs surface. The capacity of the gold nanochelators to bind to metals was assessed by UV-Vis and dynamic light scattering (DLS) upon incubation with different types of metal ions at varying concentrations. Metal binding studies demonstrate that in an acidic environment the nanochelators bind the most to Cu(II) > Zn(II) > Fe(III) and had very minimal affinity to other essential metals such as Ca(II), Na(I), and K(I). The synthetic route employed allows for the development of a library of tailored and targeted chelator ligands using biocompatible AuNPs with high potential towards controlling iron concentrations in cancer cells.


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Persistent Identifier

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