Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility

© 2003 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume IIA: Biocompatibility, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 2003


15.3.2 Biocompatibility of Carbon Fullerenes and Nanotubes

Another potential building material for medical nanodevices is the graphene sheet comprising “buckyballs” (e.g., C60) and “buckytubes” (e.g., carbon nanotubes), collectively known as the carbon fullerenes (Section 2.3.2). In principle, very large all-carbon cages could serve as containers for active nanomachinery, or graphene sheets could be worn as outer skins by atomically-diverse nanorobots or could compose the outer surfaces of nanorobot protuberances such as sensors or manipulators. In 1990, it was first announced that carbon-based fullerenes could be manufactured in macroscopic amounts [916]. Widespread experimentation began. By 1997, over 10,000 papers had appeared in the scientific literature describing the fullerenes [678]; by late 2002, fullerene and nanotube biocompatibility had blossomed into a very active field of investigation – the interested researcher is urged to consult the most current literature for the latest results.

More than a decade after their initial discovery, the carbon fullerenes are being investigated for their biocompatibility [681-751, 4630-4636, 5656, 5657, 6257] and biological applications [679, 2390, 5230, 5231]. In general, the fullerenes have low cytotoxicity both in vitro [683, 700, 726, 729, 745, 1095, 5227] and in vivo [719, 720, 745, 1093, 2599, 5655]. Few experiments on the biocompatibility of pure carbon nanotubes had been attempted by 2002 [2599], but there were a number of studies on the biocompatibility of pure C60 and related spheroidal fullerenes, as reviewed in Section Of far greater immediate relevance to current medical applications of fullerene molecules are the many other fullerene biocompatibility studies that have examined C60 derivatives (Section Derivatized fullerenes have much more importance in the near term especially given their possible many uses as pharmaceutical agents (Section


Last updated on 30 April 2004