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Issue 37, 2011
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Making carbon nanotubes biocompatible and biodegradable

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Carbon nanotubes are promising nanomaterials with great potential in the field of nanomedicine for both therapeutic and diagnostic applications. Different approaches have been developed to render this material biocompatible and to modulate any ensuing toxic effects. In the context of medical use, although chemically functionalised carbon nanotubes display reduced toxicity, they are still considered with scepticism due to their perceived non-biodegradability. Recently, it has been demonstrated that functionalised carbon nanotubes can be degraded by oxidative enzymes. This finding is offering a new perspective for the development of carbon nanotubes in medicine. This article highlights recent advances that can act as paradigm-shifts towards the design of biocompatible and biodegradable functionalised carbon nanotubes and allow their translation into the clinic.

Graphical abstract: Making carbon nanotubes biocompatible and biodegradable

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Article information

23 May 2011
13 Jun 2011
First published
21 Jul 2011

Chem. Commun., 2011,47, 10182-10188
Article type

Making carbon nanotubes biocompatible and biodegradable

A. Bianco, K. Kostarelos and M. Prato, Chem. Commun., 2011, 47, 10182
DOI: 10.1039/C1CC13011K

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