This article by Dr. Kumud Joshi et al. is published in Current Drug Delivery, Volume 16, Issue 3, 2019
The Graphene family of materials (GFNs) has emerged as one of the most useful new age nano-biomaterials. Graphene-based materials exhibit excellent physicochemical properties, such as high electrical conductivity, mechanical strength, and high surface area with π-conjugated carbon atoms stacked to form honeycomb structure, suitable for binding other molecules. All these properties make GFNs an ideal carrier of cellular drug delivery, Moreover, the ability of GFNs to exhibit fluorescence under specific wavelengths of light, makes them attractive for use in cellular imaging techniques.
Graphene Quantum Dots (GQDs) are great for this purpose. GFNs are also used in a plethora of applications in biomedicine including cancer medicine for targeted drug delivery and phototherapy, antimicrobial therapies in conjugation with regular antimicrobial agents for fighting drug resistance, developing microbicidal surfaces and materials, gene delivery, in-vivo imaging and tissue regeneration (especially for neural and bone tissue conduits). More recently GFNs have shown activity against HIV. GFNs can also be tailored for specific needs by means of functionalization with suitable motifs and doping with elements, like nitrogen and phosphorous, for desired applications.
Extensive research projects are now focusing on developing GFNs and a newer generation of like materials such as graphene nanoribbons, graphene nanoplatelets, warped nanographene and reduced graphene nano-mesh has emerged. Many of these materials overcome the limitations of previous generations of GFNs in terms of toxicity and water insolubility, which make these nanomaterials very suitable for biomedical applications. Newer synthetic methods of nontoxic graphene are also emerging; such methods include laser ablation and hydrothermal synthesis and green synthesis. These newer methods in the future will pave way for extensive use of graphene in biomedicine. Once industry-wide scaling upgrades will be achieved, we can expect graphene to be one of the most used biomaterial components in the future.