Graphene and Gold to Examine Drugs for Cancer Monitoring

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New study reveals that graphene and gold can be efficiently used to test and deliver drugs more accurately and monitor cancer

Scientists reported insights on controlling beating of human heart cells in a dish using just light and graphene. The study was published in the journal Science Advances in May 2018. Graphene is not toxic and has ability to converts light into electricity. As a part of the study, amount of electricity generated by graphene was precisely controlled by changing amount of light received by the material. Graphene reported pattern of electricity similar to various heart diseases, which makes it easier to test heart medications and other new drugs.

Furthermore, graphene was able to control the electricity in the brain and help treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Gold was another material studied, which is safe and chemically stable for human body.  Gold nanoparticles are coated with a specific drug and they can move through the body easily to reach at the targeted site. However, when gold nanoparticle are injected into the body, they are covered by proteins already in the blood called serum proteins. The serum proteins alert the body’s immune system, which will attack the particle in the same way it fights all other bodily invaders.

To overcome, this challenge, scientist added a layer of proteins to prevent the serum protein from attacking. This new method can be used in cancer monitoring. Research team engineered various gold nanoparticles to track one of four different types of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTC). New drug technique was examined on samples of blood taken from already deceased melanoma patients before, during, and after treatment. It was observed that nanoparticles showed the different types of tumor cells in every sample. Furthermore, team is working on developing method to examine more blood samples and other types of CTCs.

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