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Drug Deliv. 2014 Aug;21(5):379-87. doi: 10.3109/10717544.2013.848246. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

Formulation of curcumin delivery with functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes: characteristics and anticancer effects in vitro.

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School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhengzhou University , Zhengzhou , PR China.



Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs), an important class of artificial nanomaterials with unique physicochemical properties, were used as novel carriers of curcumin.


Formulation and evaluation of curcumin-loaded SWCNTs systems for utilizing the curcumin's anticancer potential by circumventing conventional limitations of extremely low aqueous solubility and instability under physiological conditions, and combining SWCNTs photothermal therapy enabled by the strong optical absorbance of SWCNTs in the 0.8-1.4 μm resulting in excessive local heating.


After functionalized SWCNTs were confirmed, they were conjugated with curcumin (SWCNT-Cur). Subsequently, the formulation was analyzed for size, zeta-potential and morphology. And the solubility, stability and release of curcumin were assessed using spectrofluorometer, and the solid state of the curcumin was determined using X-ray diffraction and UV spectroscopy. Furthermore, in PC-3 cells, photothermal response was further determined by irradiating laser after the antitumor effect of SWCNT-Cur was evaluated.


SWCNTs were functionalized, and subsequent SWCNT-Cur conjugates were found to possess an average size of 170.4 nm, a zeta potential of -12.5 mV and to significantly enhance the solubility and stability of curcumin, overcoming the barriers to adequate curcumin delivery. Moreover, curcumin in SWCNT-Cur was in an amorphous form and could be rapidly released. In PC-3 cells, improved inhibition efficacy was achieved by SWCNT-Cur compared with native curcumin. Meanwhile, the SWCNTs in SWCNT-Cur served not only as scaffolds but also as thermal ablation agents, further inhibiting PC-3 cell growth.


SWCNT-Cur assemblies may provide a promising delivery system for curcumin for use in cancer therapy.


Anticancer; combination drug; curcumin; photothermal therapy; single-walled carbon nanotube carrier

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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