Graphene nanoflakes: A new tool for precision medicine

phys.org | 4/14/2016 | Staff
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Chemists funded by the SNSF have created a new compound for flexible drug delivery that specifically targets prostate cancer cells. Incorporating four different molecules, the compound prevents tumor cells from multiplying, can be detected by medical imaging and has staying power in the bloodstream.

Usually, a drug is administered indiscriminately and most of it does not reach the diseased tissues. The goal of precision medicine is to increase the efficacy of therapeutic substances by delivering them only to the proper target. This requires a customized drug delivery system. A team funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation has developed a new approach based on graphene nanoflakes, which are extremely small pieces of graphene (a regular atomic-thin arrangement of carbon atoms). They added different types of molecules to single nanoflakes to transform them into a customized system for drug delivery. The results are published Chemical Science.

Jason - Holland - Team - University - Zurich

Jason Holland's team at the University of Zurich succeeded in attaching four kinds of molecules to single graphene nanoflakes to imbue them with specific capacities: transporting an anticancer drug, delivering it only to certain cancerous cells, making it visible by medical imaging and prolonging its stay in the bloodstream. In a second step, the team tested each functionality to verify that the new compound works as expected.

"Our work demonstrates how to use the graphene nanoflakes as a universal delivery mechanism," explains Ph.D. student Jennifer Lamb, first author of the publication. "They can be used as a scaffold onto which one can add customized components, a bit like Lego bricks. This is possible because of their chemical structure: the edge of the flake is made of carboxyl groups—CO2H—where additional molecules can be attached."

Collaborators - University - College - London - Graphene

First, collaborators at University College London produced the graphene nanoflakes from carbon nanotubes. Then the Zurich team attached four molecules to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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