A new study published in the journal 2D Materials has proposed using graphene as an alternative coating for catheters to improve the delivery of chemotherapy drugs. The research suggests that placing graphene - an extremely thin sheet of carbon atoms - on the internal surfaces of intravenous catheters commonly used to deliver chemotherapy drugs into a patient's body will improve the efficacy of treatments, and reduce the potential of the catheters breaking.
The study indicates that damaging interactions can occur between the most commonly used chemotherapy drug, 5-Fluorouracil (5-Fu), and silver - one of the most widely used coating materials in medical applications. As a result of this damage the researchers believe the drug may not deliver the desired therapeutic effect in patients, and that chemotherapy treatment may be compromised.
Furthermore, the research indicates that a by-product of the reaction between 5-Fu and silver is hydrogen fluoride (HF), a strong acid. This raises concerns that silver and HF may be injected into the patient along with the treatment.
As a solution to this problem, the researchers have proposed using graphene as an alternative coating material for catheters. In their study, the researchers used a technique known as x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) to study the chemical composition of 5-Fu, as well as the drug's reactions with silver and graphene.
Their results showed that when 5-Fu comes into contact with silver, reactions occur in which there is a massive loss of the element fluoride from the drug, leading to the creation of HF. When the researchers repeated this experiment with 5-Fu and graphene, they found that these reactions completely disappeared and that graphene caused no damage to the drug.
Graphene is a biocompatible material with low toxicity that has already been suggested as an external coating for biomedical applications. The researchers state that the fabrication of thin graphene coatings is technological feasible and can even be grown on top of silver to maintain compliance with existing fabrication methods.
Based on material originally posted by Institute of Physics.