Carbon Nanotubes as Near Infrared Radiation (NIR) Molecules for Cancer treatment

Document Type : Conference Proceedings


Department of Medical Physics, Faculty of Medicine, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran Student Research Committee, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran


The photo-thermal therapy by nanoparticles has been recently known as an efficient strategy for the cancer treatment. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been extensively studied in biomedical application due to the easy uptake and high permeability in the cells, biocompatibility in biological environments and also their unique electrical, thermal properties. They generate significant amounts of heat through high absorption near- infrared light (NIR, 700-1100nm) which results in the death of cancer cells in non-invasive manner. This study reviews the effects of CNTs on cancer treatment and their toxicity in biological environments.
Materials and Methods:
In order to access related studies advanced search was done in the databases including Science Direct, Scopus, PubMed and google scholar with keywords “Carbon nanotube”, “thermal therapy”, “near-infrared light”. In addition, further studies were obtained by searching the references of each study. Among the articles, more related studies to the subject were selected and analyzed their results.
Among the papers, some studies have examined the effects of CNTs on cancerous cells In vitro or In vivo while some were performed in both models. Moreover, several studies have utilized active targeting by biological agents like tumor-specific antibodies or aptamers to enhance CNTs uptake. Additionally, the studies have reported the toxicity of the nanotubes depends on the type and surface characteristics of the nanotubes and the amount of injectable doses. However, the biocompatibility and non-toxicity effect of pure CNTs was also proven. Owing to high NIR absorption and converting it to heat, they increased radio- sensitivity and chemo-sensitivity of tumor cells significantly as well caused a decrease in tumor volume.
CNTs are promising candidates for cancer treatment via thermal therapy. However, it seems more studies should be carried out on animal models in different conditions.