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  • ISSN: 2334-1815
    Early Online
    Volume 6, Issue 1
    Review Article
    Federica Valentini*, Andrea Calcaterra, Vincenzo Ruggiero, Mattia Di Giacobbe, Maurizio Botta, and Maurizio Talamo
    Pristine Graphene (pG) could represent a new and promising nanomaterial for medicine applications, because it does not catalyze the production of ROS (Reactive Oxgen Species), being in total absence of oxygenated functional groups. In fact, pG either in a dispersed or aggregated form, does not increase mitochondrial oxidant generation or induce apoptosis in lung macrophages, working at room temperature. pG presents another problem due to its thermal instability. In fact, it is very well known that pG spontaneously wrap up forming nanotubes (which result highly toxic for humans, because of their typical asbestos like structures). On the other hand, Graphene Oxide (GO) provokes severe lung injury that persists for more than 21 days after administration. In cultured alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells, GO induces the generation of mitochondrial ROS, by participating in redox reactions with components of the mitochondrial electron transport chains. Several data, described in literature, suggest that all the chemical-physical processes that maintain the nanoscale dispersion of GO is suitable to reduce the potential health consequences of workplace or environmental exposures and likely facilitate emerging graphene-based biomedical applications. Contrary to pG, the rolling up into the nanotube structures is less favored in presence of GO. It follows that, the GO toxicity is only related to the oxygenated functional groups (as primary sources of OHradical species, O2− and H2O2). However, the functional groups could be deactivated if involved in the formation of stable covalent bonds, which provide the coating of graphenic nano sheets, with suitable biopolymers. The degree and the chemical composition of the oxygenated functionalities results the principal feature, strictly related to the biocompatibility of grapheen nano sheets, but also the two-dimensional planar structure (G is a 2D nanomaterial), the nanometer scale dimensions, the large surface area (~ 3000 m2/g) andthe exceptional optical properties (as the auto-fluorescence), certainly contribute to design graphene materials, as new potential carrier for drugs. Finally, the high electrical and thermal conductivity and the good antibacterial/antimicrobial properties are not to be neglected for graphene, too. In this review, authors present an up-dated state of the art concerning the recent advances in this field of research. Briefly, this work describes current strategies for the large scale production of G and the surface chemistry modification of graphene-based nanocarriers, their biocompatibility and toxicity properties. At the same, the review reports on the most relevant cases of study suitable to demonstrate the role of graphene and graphene derivatives(GD) as nanocarrier of anti-cancer drugs and genes (i.e. miRNAs). Especially,the controlled release mechanisms (inside the cell compartments) are also mentioned and explored in terms of ∆pH, ∆μ (ionic strength variation), chemico-physical mutual interactions, thermal, photo-(i.e. NIR) and electromagnetic induction. Especially the nanodispersion and/or the accumulation/aggregation status of GO, into human cell lines, results mainly pH-sensitive.This pH-activated processesare expected to promote/catalyze targeted therapeutics release in the acidic environment of tumor cells or in intracellular compartments, such as endosome. For this purpose, an important biological factor like blood pH (and ionic strenght) are necessary to discuss in the review.
    The review also summarizes, future prospects and challenges ingraphene derivatives applications for nanobiomedicine, especially in drug deliveryfield applications.
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