Functionalized Carbon Nanotubes for Plasmid DNA Gene Delivery


  • This work was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Università di Trieste, and Ministero dell'Istruzione, dell' Università e della Ricerca (MIUR; cofin 2002, prot. 2002032171). Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis was performed at the microscopy facility of the Institute of Biomedical Problems and was cofinanced by CNRS, Région Alsace, Louis Pasteur University, and the Association de la Recherche pour le Cancer. The authors wish to acknowledge C. D. Partidos for helpful and stimulating discussions. We thank Mr. Claudio Gamboz (Centro Servizi Polivalenti di Ateneo (CSPA), Università di Trieste) for his great help with the TEM measurements.


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Genetic vaccination and gene therapy research could benefit from the application of carbon nanotubes. Functionalized, positively charged, water-soluble carbon nanotubes are able to penetrate into cells (see figure) and can transport plasmid DNA by formation of noncovalent DNA–nanotube complexes. Such nanotubes can be used as novel nonviral delivery systems for gene transfer.