Scientists at the University of Manchester found that graphene oxide may act as an anti-cancer agent that selectively targets cancer stem cells (CSCs). In combination with existing treatments, this could eventually lead to tumor shrinkage as well as preventing the spread of cancer and its recurrence after treatment.
The team prepared a variety of graphene oxide formulations for testing against six different cancer types - breast, pancreatic, lung, brain, ovarian and prostate. The flakes inhibited the formation of tumor sphere formation in all six types, suggesting that graphene oxide can be effective across a large number of different cancers, by blocking processes which take place at the surface of the cells. The researchers suggest that this may deliver a better overall clinical outcome when used in combination with conventional cancer treatments.
A recent study performed at Rice University explored the toxicity of different nanomaterials. A major difficulty in assessing nanomaterial toxicity is that there are many different varieties of nanomaterials and it is too costly to test all of them using traditional methods. The goal of the study was to develop a low-cost, high-throughput method to solve this problem.
The scientists achieved this goal by testing nanomaterials on a worm called Nematode C. Elegans. They designed assays that can test hundreds of nanomaterials in a week. These assays test the effects of each nanomaterial on thousands of worms. The material cost for each assay is only about 50 cents. As a demonstration, they applied their technology to test 20 nanomaterials and found that most of them showed some degree of toxicity. This method can serve effectively as a rapid initial screen to prioritize a few nanomaterials for more expensive, dedicated toxicology testing.
University of Central Florida spin-off Garmor will take part in the NPE2015 Startup Garage and showcase its low-cost graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide in addition to products made with graphene oxide polymer and fiberglass composites that can be used in a variety of applications ranging from automotive, aerospace, and military to consumer electronics, medical, and construction.
The company will also share the methods developed for the smooth dispersion of graphene into both polar and non-polar plastics. According to Garmor, the company’s partnership with the University of Central Florida (UCF) has played an integral role in perfecting a method to optimize the incorporation of graphene in various polymers, composite materials and coating.
Researchers at the Indian Banaras Hindu University (BHU) designed a sensitive and specific graphene oxide-based electrochemical biosensor for detection of specific micro-particles in blood samples and predict the risk of heart attack or brain stroke.
The scientists explain that certain processes that take place in the body prior to brain stroke or cardiac arrest cause the release of microparticles to the blood, which can be detected by the sensor to predict an imminent stroke or heart attack.
A simple way of cleaning water of various contaminants (from lead and mercury to dye and antibiotics) was shown in a proof-of-concept study at Monash University (that also involved MIT and Bristol University), using graphene oxide and magnets.
The method relies on strong magnets that draw charged particles out of water as it flows through a pipe. The particles are attached to tiny sheets of graphene oxide, which attract a huge range of toxins. Graphene oxide's ability to “sponge” metal ions made the new system a promising way of treating mine tailing dams.
Researchers at the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics at Imperial College London (ICL) cooperated with teams from the University of Warwick, the University of Bath, and the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela to use graphene oxide (GO) and reduced graphene oxide (rGO) together with small amounts of a responsive polymer (a polymer that changes upon activation of a 'chemical switch'), to formulate water based ink or pastes for 3D printing applications.
The scientists say that their formulations sport the required flow and physical properties for 3D printing (namely, the ability to flow through miniature nozzles but set immediately after that), for a technique called direct ink writing (DIW), robocasting or direct write assembly (DWA). This technique is based on the continuous deposition of a filament following a computer design.
A scientist from the American Washington University, by the name of John D. Fortner (PhD), received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development Award (CAREER) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The five-year, $500,000 award is for his project titled “Development and Application of Crumpled Graphene Oxide-Based Nanocomposites as a Platform Material for Advanced Water Treatment.”
Fortner will aim to develop 3D nanoscale composites made of crumpled graphene oxide as multifunctional platform materials for advanced water treatment technologies. Along with material synthesis and characterization, he plans to develop a range of membrane assemblies for advanced water treatment, including crumpled graphene oxide nanocomposites, which are highly water-permeable, photoreactive and antimicrobial. There is a patent pending for this platform technology.