Authors: H. Ali-Boucetta, K.T. Al-Jamal, K. Kostarelos
Affilation: The School of Pharmacy, University of London, United Kingdom
Pages: 16 - 18
Keywords: carbon nanotubes, doxorubicin, pi-pi interaction
The field of drug delivery is being revolutionised by the discovery of novel nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) capable of traversing the plasma membrane and promoting the cellular uptake of small molecules and macromolecules (e.g. nucleic acids and proteins). CNTs are composed of carbon atoms arranged into graphene sheets rolled-up into tubular structures. Although existing anticancer drugs are potent molecules, their efficacy is hindered by their side effects which mainly relates to their non-discrimination between healthy and cancerous cells. For this reason the development of efficient delivery systems such as CNTs with the ability to reach target sites to deliver existing potent drugs is a perquisite. We propose MWNT-doxorubicin supra-molecular complexes that can be developed for cancer therapy. The solubility of CNTs in water has been improved using a surfactant copolymer and form CNT-doxorubicin complexes by simple mixing. The formation of such complexes is evidenced by a sharp decrease in the intensity of the doxorubicin fluorescence spectrum and takes place presumably via - interactions with the MWNT backbone. In addition, the structural characteristics of the CNT-doxorubicin complexes were examined by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). TEM images showed a well dispersed pluronic wrapped MWNT but clustered MWNT-doxorubicin structures as the doxorubicin: CNT mass ratio was increased (1:0.5 to 1:2) suggesting a strong interaction between doxorubicin and MWNT. Very interestingly the doxorubicin:MWNT complexes exhibit enhanced cytotoxic activity compared to both doxorubicin alone and doxorubicin: pluronic complexes.