The JRC contributed to a European project on nanobiomaterials demonstrating that carbon nanoparticles (CNPs) derived by glucose have potential for future use in cancer therapy and diagnosis.
This is because of their ability to strongly absorb near-infrared light leading to pro-oxidant or anti-oxidant properties.
Carbon nanoparticles derived by glucose (CNPs) are characterized by a rich and versatile chemistry. They are able to strongly absorb light and convert it into sufficient heat to induce cancer cell death.
In addition, they can exhibit pro-oxidant properties that may activate pathways destructive for tumour cells like apoptosis, necrosis and autophagy, as well as show anti-oxidant properties with possible protective effect from oxidative/nitrosative damage.
Scientists from the University of Torino and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) demonstrated that, when irradiated with near-infrared (NIR) light, CNPs efficiently generate heat and singlet oxygen, a property that can be exploited for dual photo-thermal/photodynamic therapy in cancer.
On the other hand, in the absence of photo-activation, CNPs react with both oxidant and antioxidant species. When tested on a murine macrophages cell line CNPs showed antioxidant properties. Furthermore, although efficiently internalised, CNPs do not exert cytotoxic effects and do not increase inflammation.
Read more in:
I. Kokalaria et al.: Pro- and anti-oxidant properties of near-infrared (NIR) light responsive carbon nanoparticles. Free radical biology & medicine 134 (2019) 165-176.