Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School studied the extent to which graphene oxide is biocompatible, and discovered that it is not toxic to cells (up to a certain concentration). Graphene oxide may thus be suitable for use in medical devices and implants for next-generation biosensors, implantable electronics or even tissue engineering scaffolds.
In their tests, the scientists found that reducing the degree of graphene oxidation resulted in the material infiltrating and clearing cells faster. They also observed that after injection, the graphene oxide particles coalesced to form an implant-like material in the tested mice. The scientists' study showed that over the short term, the body responds to graphene oxide in much the same way it does to other biomaterial implants that are known to be safe.The researchers are now working on trying to understand how the body clears graphene oxide from the site it has been implanted in. They are also looking at chemically modifying and coating the material to reduce its degree of oxidation. This might help reduce the inflammatory response it produces and further enhance its biocompatibility and utility for biomedical applications.