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Friday, September 28, 2007

Coated carbon nanotubes retain ability to bind to drugs and imaging agents

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.