Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Medical Sciences

Major Professor

Diane Allen-Gipson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ashwin Parthasarathy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Zhi Tian, Ph.D.


Silica Nanoparticles, Colloidal Gold Nanoparticles, Near-infrared resonance, Nanotechnology, Turkevich method, Stӧber method


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. For the year 2020, it was estimated 1.8 million deaths were due to lung cancer alone, making it more lethal than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. For the year 2021, it is estimated 235,760 new cases of lung cancer and 50% will lead to death. The primary cause of lung cancer is due to cigarette smoking, which accounts for 80% of all lung cancer deaths. Lung cancer screening relies on only different methods, biopsy, bronchoscopy, ultrasound, chest x-ray film, and sputum cytology. These techniques are used to analyze the lungs for any abnormalities. The treatments available for lung cancer rely on chemotherapy agents which are invasive and ineffective. Nanotechnology, particularly gold nanoparticles have properties enabling them to be applied as imaging tools for tumor detection, as delivery systems for targeted drug delivery, and as therapeutic agents for photodynamic and photothermal therapy for eradicating cancerous cells. This study focuses on the application of gold nanoshells as targeted agents for improving lung cancer treatment. Gold nanoshells have great potential as a photothermal agent due to their localized surface plasmon resonance properties, heat conservation, and surface chemistry. In this study, gold-silica nanoshells of 120 nm in size were synthesized and incubated with the A549 human adenocarcinoma alveolar epithelial cell lines. Upon exposure to near-infrared resonance (NIR) laser light (850 nm), the cells underwent photothermal cellular damage and reduction of lung cell carcinoma viability compared to control cells. Research on this current topic will bring further knowledge as more exploration is made on synthesizing gold nanoparticles for their use in clinical studies.