Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have used graphene oxide to develop a novel cancer drug delivery system. The researchers' achievement relies on a rather surprising revelation - they found that when a FDA-approved anticancer drug cisplatin was added, the graphene oxide sheets self-assembled into spherical nanoparticles enclosing the drug within.
Lab tests showed that the nanoparticles (of 90-120 nanometre in size) containing cisplatin and either of two other anticancer drugs ( proflavine and doxorubicin) were taken up by cervical cancer cells leading to programmed cell death.
Interestingly, once cisplatin is released inside the cell, the spherical nanoparticle loses its shape and once again regains its original sheet-like structure. The researchers are planning to undertake more studies using other cancer cells and eventually use animal models. “We anticipate the graphene oxide-based nanoplatform will be useful for next-generation cancer therapy, specifically targeting the mitochondria,” the team says.