A research team led by Tatsuya Murakami of Kyoto University explored the possibility of utilizing a carbon nanotube for cancer treatment. The research team confirmed that if a carbon nanotube is irradiated by near infrared light with the property to transmit a human body, active oxygen is generated to kill cancer cells effectively. If combined with a technology to aggregate pharmacological agents in an affected area like tumor, a carbon nanotube could be utilized to develop a new cancer treatment.
The research team coated a carbon nanotube with a kind of cholesterol like phosphatide to allow it to exist in a human body in a stable manner. They put the coated nanotube in a culture of lung cancer cells and irradiated a near infrared light with a wavelength of 808 nanometers for 10 minutes. They counted the number of lung cancer cells one day later and found that the number decreased by 45%. The number decreased by 28% in the case that a reagent to control active oxygen is put in the reagent, showing that active oxygen is effective to kill cancer cells. Please click here for further details in Japanese, and here for further details in English.