Navigation Links
Chemistry resolves toxic concerns about carbon nanotubes
Date:1/15/2013

Safety fears about carbon nanotubes, due to their structural similarity to asbestos, have been alleviated following research showing that reducing their length removes their toxic properties.

In a new study, published today in the journal Angewandte Chemie, evidence is provided that the asbestos-like reactivity and pathogenicity reported for long, pristine nanotubes can be completely alleviated if their surface is modified and their effective length is reduced as a result of chemical treatment.

First atomically described in the 1990s, carbon nanotubes are sheets of carbon atoms rolled up into hollow tubes just a few nanometres in diameter. Engineered carbon nanotubes can be chemically modified, with the addition of chemotherapeutic drugs, fluorescent tags or nucleic acids opening up applications in cancer and gene therapy.

Furthermore, these chemically modified carbon nanotubes can pierce the cell membrane, acting as a kind of 'nano-needle', allowing the possibility of efficient transport of therapeutic and diagnostic agents directly into the cytoplasm of cells.

Among their downsides however, have been concerns about their safety profile. One of the most serious concerns, highlighted in 2008, involves the carcinogenic risk from the exposure and persistence of such fibres in the body. Some studies indicate that when long untreated carbon nanotubes are injected to the abdominal cavity of mice they can induce unwanted responses resembling those associated with exposure to certain asbestos fibres.

In this paper, the authors describe two different reactions which ask if any chemical modification can render the nanotubes non-toxic. They conclude that not all chemical treatments alleviate the toxicity risks associated with the material. Only those reactions that are able to render carbon nanotubes short and stably suspended in biological fluids without aggregation are able to result in safe, risk-free material.

Professor Kostas Kostarelos, Chair of Nanomedicine at the UCL School of Pharmacy who led the research with his long term collaborators Doctor Alberto Bianco of the CNRS in Strasbourg, France and Professor Maurizio Prato of the University of Trieste, Italy, said: "The apparent structural similarity between carbon nanotubes and asbestos fibres has generated serious concerns about their safety profile and has resulted in many unreasonable proposals of a halt in the use of these materials even in well-controlled and strictly regulated applications, such as biomedical ones. What we show for the first time is that in order to design risk-free carbon nanotubes both chemical treatment and shortening are needed."

He added: "Creative strategies to identify the characteristics that nanoparticles should possess in order to be rendered 'safe-for-use', and the ways to achieve that, are essential as nanotechnology and its tools are maturing into applications and becoming part of our everyday lives."


'/>"/>
Contact: Clare Ryan
clare.ryan@ucl.ac.uk
44-020-310-83846
University College London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. LAMIS -- a green chemistry alternative for laser spectroscopy
2. UCLAs Yi Tang receives Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from EPA
3. Pulverized rocks, coral reefs, seawater chemistry, and continental collisions
4. Scientists connect seawater chemistry with climate change and evolution
5. Chemistry on Mars video with Curiosity Rover from the American Chemical Society
6. Changes in water chemistry leave lake critters defenseless
7. New Market Forecasts Available for Critical Global Biotechnology Testing and Screening Markets: Molecular Diagnostics, Hematology, Clinical Chemistry and Nucleic Acid Testing
8. Astrochemistry enters a bold new era with ALMA
9. Emory receives $20 million NSF grant for chemistry center
10. The Journal of Biological Chemistry commemorates an important 1987 discovery
11. Model sheds light on the chemistry that sparked the origin of life
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... India , March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for Consumer ... Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & IT, ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... industry is expected to reach USD 26.76 ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... -- --> --> According ... "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ... digital door lock systems market in terms of revenue was ... to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during the period ... (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity driving inclusive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The Ankle ... plating options designed to address fractures of the distal tibia and fibula. This ... Acumed Ankle Plating System 3 is composed of seven plate families that span ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... for information (RFI) issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health ... experience, and determines if clinically relevant data were available when and where it ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... WEDI, the nation’s leading authority on the use ... W. Stellar has been named by the WEDI Board of Directors as WEDI’s president ... executive leader with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, association management and ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan drug designation request ... second orphan drug designation granted by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: