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Carbon nanotubes as cancer therapeutic carriers and mediators

Authors Son KH, Hong JH, Lee JW

Received 12 May 2016

Accepted for publication 9 July 2016

Published 7 October 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 5163—5185

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S112660

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas Webster


Kuk Hui Son,1 Jeong Hee Hong,2 Jin Woo Lee3

1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Gachon University Gil Medical Center, 2Department of Physiology, 3Department of Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, Gachon University, Incheon, Republic of Korea


Abstract: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have received increasing attention in biomedical fields because of their unique structures and properties, including high aspect ratios, large surface areas, rich surface chemical functionalities, and size stability on the nanoscale. Particularly, they are attractive as carriers and mediators for cancer therapy. Through appropriate functionalization, CNTs have been used as nanocarriers for anticancer drugs including doxorubicin, camptothecin, carboplatin, cisplatin, paclitaxel, Pt(II), and Pt(IV), and genes including plasmid DNA, small-interfering RNA, oligonucleotides, and RNA/DNA aptamers. CNTs can also deliver proteins and immunotherapy components. Using combinations of light energy, they have also been applied as mediators for photothermal therapy and photodynamic therapy to directly destroy cancer cells without severely damaging normal tissue. If limitations such as a long-term cytotoxicity in the body, lack of size uniformity during the synthetic process, loading deviations for drug–CNT complexes, and release controllability at the target point are overcome, CNTs will become one of the strongest tools that are available for various other biomedical fields as well as for cancer therapy.

Keywords: carbon nanotubes, cancer, therapy, carrier, mediator

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