Gold has been traditionally used to protect wealth. And now the precious metal also can protect health.

An English university announced researchers have devised a method of using the precious metal to prevent blood from nourishing malignant tumors. Small dosages of gold nanoparticles can influence genes' activation and inhibition of the intricate procedure of supplying sustaining nutrients like oxygen and blood to cancer in many forms. That procedure is called angiogenesis.

"The peptide-functionalised gold nanoparticles that we synthesised are very effective in the deliberate activation or inhibition of angiogenic genes," according to Dr. Antonio Kanaras, a physics lecturer at the University of Southampton. "We have found that gold nanoparticles can have a dual role in cellular manipulation. Applying laser irradiation, we can use the nanoparticles either to destroy endothelial cells, as a measure to cut the blood supply to tumours, or to deliberately open up the cellular membrane in order to deliver a drug efficiently."

The team of researchers spearheaded by Kanaras has published two papers on the matter. Another has been submitted for publication while four additional essays are slated for production during the remainder of the year.

The researchers have set a goal of manipulating the complex process of angiogenesis with nanotechnology.