Carbon-based drug delivery vehicles such as carbon ‘nano-needles’ have the potential to eliminate the severe side-effects caused by platinum anticancer drugs, but scientists have found it difficult to control the drug’s containment and release. Cisplatin is hydrophilic so trying to contain it within a nanotube’s hydrophobic interior is difficult – the drug readily gets replaced with water. Conversely, strongly hydrophobic-hydrophobic interactions between a drug and the nanotube may prevent the drug’s efficient release.
Scientists from Singapore have trapped a strongly hydrophobic Pt(IV) prodrug in carbon nanotubes and have shown that chemical reduction causes a dramatic reversal in hydrophobicity to release the active Pt(II) complex.
Link to journal article
Platinum(IV) prodrugs entrapped within multiwalled carbon nanotubes: Selective release by chemical reduction and hydrophobicity reversal
J Li et al
Chem. Sci., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/c2sc01086k