Melanomas are fast growing high-mortality tumors, and specific treatments for melanomas are needed. Melanoma cells overexpress focal adhesion kinase (FAK) compared to normal keratinocytes, and we sought to exploit this difference to create a selectively lethal therapy. We combined gold nanoparticles (GNP) with antibodies targeting phosphorylated FAK (p-FAK). These conjugates (p-FAK-GNP) entered G361 melanoma cells and bound p-FAK. Treatment with p-FAK-GNP decreased the viability of G361 cells in a time dependent manner by inducing apoptosis. To maximize the preferential killing of G361 cells, non-thermal atmospheric pressure plasma was used to stimulate the GNP within p-FAK-GNP. Combined treatment with plasma and p-FAK-GNP showed much higher lethality against G361 cells than HaCaT keratinocyte cells. The p-FAK-GNP induced apoptosis over 48 hours in G361 cells, whereas plasma and p-FAK-GNP killed G361 cells immediately. This study demonstrates that combining plasma with p-FAK-GNP results in selective lethality against human melanoma cells.
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