The impact of manufactured nanomaterials on human health and the environment is a major concern for commercial use of nanotechnology based products. A judicious choice of selective usage, lower nanomaterial concentration and use in combination with conventional therapeutic materials may provide the best solution. For example, silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) are known to be bactericidal and also cytotoxic to mammalian cells. Herein, we investigate the molecular mechanism of Ag NP mediated cytotoxicity in both cancer and non-cancer cells and find that optimum particle concentration leads to programmed cell death in vitro. Also, the benefit of the cytotoxic effects of Ag NPs was tested for therapeutic use in conjunction with conventional gene therapy. The synergistic effect of Ag NPs on the uracil phosphoribosyltransferase expression system sensitized the cells more towards treatment with the drug 5-fluorouracil. Induction of the apoptotic pathway makes Ag NPs a representative of a new chemosensitization strategy for future application in gene therapy.