The influence of surface chemistry and size of nanoscale graphene oxide on photothermal therapy of cancer using ultra-low laser power
Photothermal therapy as a physical treatment approach to destruct cancer has emerged as an alternative of currently used cancer therapies. Previously we have shown that polyethylene glycol (PEG) functionalized nano-graphene oxide (nGO-PEG) with strong optical absorption in the near-infrared (NIR) region was a powerful photothermal agent for in vivo cancer treatment. In this work, by using ultra-small reduced graphene oxide (nRGO) with non-covalent PEG coating, we study how sizes and surface chemistry affect the in vivo behaviors of graphene, and remarkably improve the performance of graphene-based in vivo photothermal cancer treatment. Owing to the enhanced NIR absorbance and highly efficient tumor passive targeting of nRGO-PEG, excellent in vivo treatment efficacy with 100% of tumor elimination is observed after intravenous injection of nRGO-PEG and the followed 808 nm laser irradiation, the power density (0.15 W/cm2, 5 min) of which is an order of magnitude lower than that usually applied for in vivo tumor ablation using many other nanomaterials. All mice after treatment survive over a period of 100 days without a single death or any obvious sign of side effect. Our results highlight that both surface chemistry and sizes are critical to the in vivo performance of graphene, and show the promise of using optimized nano-graphene for ultra-effective photothermal treatment, which may potentially be combined with other therapeutic approaches to assist our fight against cancer.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 33, Issue 7, March 2012, Pages 2206–2214