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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2012 Sep;100(9):2499-506. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.34148. Epub 2012 May 24.

Multifunctional nanocomposite based on graphene oxide for in vitro hepatocarcinoma diagnosis and treatment.

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Department of Medical Imaging, Tongji Hospital, Tongji University, Shanghai 200065, China.


Because of its unique chemical and physical properties, graphene oxide (GO) has attracted a large number of researchers to explore its biomedical applications in the past few years. Here, we synthesized a novel multifunctional nanocomposite based on GO and systemically investigated its applications for in vitro hepatocarcinoma diagnosis and treatment. This multifunctional nanocomposite named GO-PEG-FA/Gd/DOX was obtained as the following procedures: gadolinium-diethylenetriamine-pentaacetic acid-poly(diallyl dimethylammonium) chloride (Gd-DTPA-PDDA) as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) probe was applied to modify GO by simple physical sorption with a loading efficiency of Gd(3+) up to 0.314 mg mg(-1). In order to improve its tumor targeting imaging and treatment efficiency, the obtained intermediate product was further modified with folic acid (FA). Finally, the nanocomposite was allowed to load anticancer drug doxorubicin hydrochloride via π-π stacking and hydrophobic interaction with the loading capacity reaching 1.38 mg mg(-1). MRI test revealed that GO-PEG-FA/Gd/DOX exhibit superior tumor targeting imaging efficiency over free Gd(3+). The in vitro release of DOX from the nanocomposite under tumor relevant condition (pH 5.5) was fast at the initial 10 h and then become relatively slow afterward. Moreover, we experimentally demonstrated that the multifunctional nanocomposite exhibited obviously cytotoxic effect upon cancer cells. Above results are promising for the next in vivo experiment and make it possible to be a potential candidate for malignancy early detection and specific treatment.

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