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Keywords:

  • biomedical application;
  • carbon nanotubes;
  • nanocarrier;
  • nanomedicine;
  • targeted drug delivery

Abstract

Objectives  Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted much attention by researchers worldwide in recent years for their small dimensions and unique architecture, and for having immense potential in nanomedicine as biocompatible and supportive substrates, as a novel tool for the delivery of therapeutic molecules including peptides, RNA and DNA, and also as sensors, actuators and composites.

Key findings  CNTs have been employed in the development of molecular electronic, composite materials and others due to their unique atomic structure, high surface area-to-volume ratio and excellent electronic, mechanical and thermal properties. Recently they have been exploited as novel nanocarriers in drug delivery systems and biomedical applications. Their larger inner volume as compared with the dimensions of the tube and easy immobilization of their outer surface with biocompatible materials make CNTs a superior nanomaterial for drug delivery. Literature reveals that CNTs are versatile carriers for controlled and targeted drug delivery, especially for cancer cells, because of their cell membrane penetrability.

Summary  This review enlightens the biomedical application of CNTs with special emphasis on utilization in controlled and targeted drug delivery, as a diagnostics tool and other possible uses in therapeutic systems. The review also focuses on the toxicity aspects of CNTs, and revealed that genotoxic potential, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of different types of CNTs must be explored and overcome by formulating safe biomaterial for drug delivery. The review also describes the regulatory aspects and clinical and market status of CNTs.