Background: Selective targeting of malignant cells is the ultimate goal of anticancer studies around the world. There are some modalities for cancer therapy devastating tumor size and growth rate, meanwhile attacking normal cells. Utilizing appropriate ligands, like folate, allow the delivery of therapeutic molecules to cancer cells selectively. There are a variety of photosensitizers, like gold nanorods (GNRs), capable of absorbing the energy of light and converting it to heat, evidently build a photothermal procedure for cancer therapy.
Objective: To develop a one-step approach for calculating the temperature distribution by solving the heat transfer equation with multiple heat sources originating from NIR laser-exposed GNRs.
Material and Methods: In this experimental study, we simulated NIR laser heating process in a single cancer cell, with and without incubation with folate conjugated PEG-GNRs. This simulation was based on a real TEM image from an experiment with the same setup. An in vitro experiment based on aforesaid scenario was performed to validate the simulated model in practice.
Results: According to the simplifications due to computational resource limits, the resulting outcome of simulation showed significant compatibility to the supporting experiment. Both simulation and experimental studies showed a similar trend for heating and cooling of the cells incubated with GNRs and irradiated by NIR laser (5 min, 1.8 W/cm2). It was observed that temperature of the cells in microplate reached 53.6 °C when irradiated by laser.
Conclusion: This new method can be of great application in developing a planning technique for treating tumors utilizing GNP-mediated thermal therapy.