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Iranian researchers from Islamic Azad University presented a new method to improve the performance of carbon nanotubes in cancer treatment and reduce the problems in its applications.
In this method, the surface of nanotubes is modified with polymers, and as a result, the healthy cells are less damaged.
Despite the unique properties of carbon nanotubes and their vast application in various fields, there are limitations for the use of carbon nanotubes in medical issues. Some changes are made in carbon nanotubes by using polymers to eliminate the limits and modify their medical performance.
In this research, two drugs for the elimination of cancer cells were obtained by functionalizing single-walled carbon nanotubes with polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) and hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), which both are among important monomers in pharmaceutical studies.
Cell culture experiments showed that these materials are able to eliminate about 70% of cancer cells for all types of cancers, specially breast and prostate cancers and cancers that are related to cell tissues. The use of this product reduces treatment costs, increases the rate of recovery and decreases side effects. No anticancer drug is loaded in the product and the product has been designed in a way that it has anticancer effect.
Monomers used in this research are classified in hydrogel group. Hydrogels are hydrophilic polymers that store great amount of water inside their structure. The volume of hydrogels significantly changes due to environmental changes such as temperature or pH value. This characteristic makes hydrogels suitable for targeted delivery purposes or tissue engineering applications.
Results of the research have been published in Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, vol. 20, issue 5, November 2013, pp. 2895-2900.
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