Carbon Nanotubes Have Room for Multifunctionality

Sep 27, 2007

In the quest to turn carbon nanotubes from nanoscale wonder into clinically useful drug and imaging agent delivery agents, researchers have often added polymer coatings to the outside of the nanotubes in order to render them biocompatible. Now, researchers at Stanford University have found that even when coated, carbon nanotubes retain the ability to bind extraordinarily large numbers of drug and imaging agent molecules in a stable yet reversible manner.

Reporting its work in the journal ACS Nano, a research team led by Hongjie Dai, Ph.D., an investigator in the Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence Focused on Therapy Response, showed that polymer-coated single-walled carbon nanotubes spontaneously absorbed the cancer drug doxorubicin onto their surfaces when the drug was added to the nanotubes dissolved in water. The resulting construct contained approximately 50 to 60 percent doxorubicin by weight, far higher than the 8 to 10 percent obtained with either liposomes or dendrimers.

The investigators also found that the carbon nanotubes retained their drug payload when dissolved in normal physiological buffer and blood serum, but that the drug released quickly from the nanotubes in the acidic environment characteristic of the insides of tumor cells. The investigators showed, too, that they could permanently attach tumor-targeting molecules and imaging contrast agents to the nanotubes, raising the possibility of creating multifunctional nanoscale devices that could both detect and treat tumors.

This work, which was supported by the National Cancer Institute's Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, is detailed in the paper, "Supramolecular chemistry on water-soluble carbon nanotubes for drug loading and delivery." An abstract of this paper is available at the journal's Web site.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Explore further: Nanoparticles in consumer products can significantly alter normal gut microbiome

Related Stories

From tobacco to cyberwood

Mar 30, 2015

Swiss scientists from ETH Zurich have developed a thermometer that is at least 100 times more sensitive than previous temperature sensors. It consists of a bio-synthetic hybrid material of tobacco cells and nanotubes.

Better batteries inspired by lowly snail shells

Feb 11, 2015

Scientists are using biology to improve the properties of lithium ion batteries. Researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have isolated a peptide, a type of biological molecule, ...

Nanotech drug smugglers

Nov 12, 2013

Tiny capsules of carbon are invisible to the chemical gatekeeper that flushes potentially harmful substances out of our bodies' cells, according to research published in the International Journal of Computational Biology an ...

Carbon nanotubes: Bullets in the fight against cancer

Sep 11, 2013

Carbon nanotubes, tiny tubes of rolled-up carbon sheets, hold great potential for delivering therapeutic heat, drugs and medical sensors directly to where they are needed to attack cancerous cells.

Recommended for you

Implantable electrode coating good as gold

2 hours ago

A team of researchers from Lawrence Livermore and UC Davis have found that covering an implantable neural electrode with nanoporous gold could eliminate the risk of scar tissue forming over the electrode's ...

Defects in atomically thin semiconductor emit single photons

22 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that defects on an atomically thin semiconductor can produce light-emitting quantum dots. The quantum dots serve as a source of single photons and could be useful for ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.