Graphene used to destroy chemo-resistant cancer cells

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Researchers from India have shown a way to radio-thermally kill a cancer cell using biodegradable graphene nanoparticles. Nanoparticle-mediated radio frequency ablation (RFA) is a method where heat energy is generated within the tumor by incident radiofrequency (RF) waves resulting in coagulation necrosis of cells.

Transferrin-conjugated graphene nanoparticles can thermally ablate drug or radiation-resistant cancer cells very effectively. (Image: Giridharan LM)
Transferrin-conjugated graphene nanoparticles can thermally ablate drug or radiation-resistant cancer cells very effectively. (Image: Giridharan LM)

In a paper published in Advanced Healthcare Materials, the researchers from Amrita Centre for Nanoscience and Molecular Medicine have evaluated the potential of biocompatible/biodegradable carboxyl-functionalized graphene nanoparticle for targeted RF ablation of highly drug-/radiation-resistant cancer cells. Most of the effective photo thermal therapies with Gold nanoparticles and Carbon nanotubes, have been plagued with impurities and toxicity. On the other hand, Graphene and its surface-functionalized or oxidized derivatives have been more attractive owing to their non-fibrous nature, remarkable thermal and electrical conductance and biocompatibility. The material has been tested for various biomedical applications such as drug delivery, imaging, photo thermal therapy and tissue engineering.

Reporting their findings, the team has shown that graphene is efficient in converting non-ionising radio waves(the same that are used in FM radios) into heat energy sufficient to destroy the proteins and DNA inside individual cancer cells. They suggest that  such low-power consumption systems might be one of the best strategies to exterminate drug and radiation resistant cancer cells, without using existing invasive treatments.

Our minimally invasive method makes use of very low-power radio waves, which can pass through any part of the body and generate heat energy only where biofunctionalized graphene nanoparticles are present,” Dr. Abhilash Sasidharan, who is the first author of the paper told Nanowerk. “Thus, once the graphene platelets are localized within the target tumor cells, the radio waves sent from outside the body can generate a sufficiently large amount of heat at highly localized, nanoscopic levels within the tumor and destroy all cellular proteins leading to cell death by a mechanism called coagulation necrosis.”

Their findings on the nanoparticle-mediated therapeutics offer a lot of opportunities in the world of cancer-related treatments and in specialized healthcare.

Read more: Biodegradable graphene can radio-thermally ablate radiation and chemo resistant cancer cells

The original article can be accesed here.