Graphene: Biomedical Research and Applications

By AZoNano.com Staff Writers

Topics Covered

Introduction
Drug-delivery
Cancer Therapy
Biosensing
Bioimaging
GO-based Anti-bacterial materials
About University Wafer

Introduction

CVD graphene from University Wafer is a great substrate to use for a wide variety of biotech research. Graphene has several unique properties including: DNA absorption, its function as a super quencher and its protection from enzyme cleavage which make it an ideal nanomaterial for biological engineering.

Most biotech applications of graphene make use of some form of biofunctionalization. This process improves the biocompatibility, solubility and selectivity of the graphene by bonding organic functional groups to a graphene substrate. This includes the development of applications such as fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) biosensors which detect a wide range of proteins, small molecules and ions.

It also has applications in drug delivery such as the use of graphene oxide as a delivery vehicle for water soluble cancer drugs.  

Image Credit: Artbox/Shutterstock.com

Graphene could also prove to be a valuable nanomaterial in the development of nanoscale bio-electrical interfaces due to its excellent chemical stability. However, more research needs to be done in order to improve our understanding of the interaction of graphene with the human body, including s better understanding of its potential toxicity.

Examples of graphene biotech research include:

Drug-delivery

Graphene oxide has been shown to have excellent characteristics as a nanomaterial for drug delivery. Graphene oxide’s high specific surface area and enriched oxygen containing groups give it outstanding biocompatibility and physiological solubility, as well as loading by chemical conjugation with available reactive COOH and OH groups.

Cancer Therapy

Furthering on from research done with graphene oxide as a vehicle for drug delivery, more specific research has been done into its uses as a nanocarrier for non-water soluble anticancer drugs.

Specific studies looking into the feasibility of nanomaterial-based systems for the loading of multiple drugs has been done, since most anti-cancer approaches rely upon the use of multiple drugs to overcome the drug resistance of cancer cells.

The loading of multiple drugs onto a graphene oxide substrate has been shown to improve targeting and yield much higher cytotoxicity than GO loaded with only one drug.

Biosensing

A variety of graphene based substrates have been studied for their potential applications in bionsensing using a wide range of techniques. These applications include:

  • Using the fluorescence super-quenching ability of graphene to develop novel FRET biosensors.
  • Using graphene’s unique electronic properties to create FET biosensors.
  • As a matrix for the detection of different molecules such as thrombin, ATP, amino acid and dopamine.

Bioimaging

Graphene oxide also has potential uses in bioimaging. Researchers have prepared smaller graphene oxide, in the order of 10nm, called graphene quantum dots. As a result of graphene’s unique fluorescent properties, this can be utilised in bioimaging applications.

A variety of different approaches have been used in order to improve the fluorescent yield of GQD including the functionalization of GQD with alkylamine. One advantage that GQDs have over II-VI QDs, such as CdSe, is their significantly improved biocompatibility. It is also possible to utilize pH dependant optic properties of GQD in order to control the fluorescent response of the graphene for safe and efficient imaging.

GO-based Anti-bacterial materials

Research has been carried out in the creation of anti-bacterial materials using graphene. One example includes a study which used a suspension of graphene oxide in order to develop a paper which has excellent anti-bacterial characteristics, with possible clinical applications. Other studies have been carried out investigating the effectiveness of graphene nanowalls deposited on stainless steel substrates against e-coli. 

About University Wafer

University Wafer was developed to provide researchers with wafers and other semiconductor related materials and services inexpensively and in a timely manner.

University Wafers supplies wafers ranging from as thin as 5 microns to as thick as a silicon ingot, and are able to supply single wafers or orders of any size. Most of their silicon items are in stock or can ship in just a few short weeks to any destination.

Wafers can have oxides, nitrides, or metals deposited on their surface. They can be diced, and thinned to 5um. Undoped, low doped and highly doped wafers are always in stock.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by University Wafer.

For more information on this source, please visit University Wafer.

Date Added: Jul 31, 2014 | Updated: Jul 31, 2014
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