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J Biomed Opt. 2009 Mar-Apr;14(2):021009. doi: 10.1117/1.3078803.

Cancer photothermal therapy in the near-infrared region by using single-walled carbon nanotubes.

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South China Normal University, MOE Key Laboratory of Laser Life Science & Institute of Laser Life Science, Guangzhou 510631, China.


Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have a high optical absorbance in the near-infrared (NIR) region. In this special optical window, biological systems are known to be highly transparent. The optical properties of SWNTs provide an opportunity for selective photothermal therapy for cancer treatment. Specifically, CoMoCAT nanotubes with a uniform size (about 0.81 nm) and a narrow absorption peak at 980 nm are ideal candidates for such a novel approach. Here, CoMoCAT SWNTs are conjugated to folate, which can bind specifically to the surface of the folate receptor tumor markers. Folate-SWNT (FA-SWNT) targeted tumor cells were irradiated by a 980-nm laser. In our in vitro and in vivo experiments, FA-SWNT effectively enhanced the photothermal destruction on tumor cells and noticeably spared the photothermal destruction for nontargeted normal cells. Thus, SWNTs, combined with suitable tumor markers, can be used as novel nanomaterials for selective photothermal therapy for cancer treatment.

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