Research Highlight

Ball shaped drug carrier

doi:10.1038/nindia.2009.301 Published online 29 September 2009

An Indo-US research team has designed nano-sized drug carriers by modifying fullerene, a soccer ball-shaped big carbon molecule1. They successfully ferry anti-cancer agents and stifle the growth of cancer cells.

The researchers have designed fullerenol, a type of fullerene with multiple hydroxyl groups and produced nanoparticle-drug conjugates by combining fullerenol with two anti-cancer agents – doxorubicin (used against several blood cancers) and cisplatin (used to treat bladder and ovarian cancers).

They tested the conjugates on an array of cultured cancer cell lines as well as cancer cells grown in mice. The study found that the conjugates containing doxorubicin drove a type of skin cancer cells to commit mass suicide.

Free doxorubicin resulted in a significant decrease in body weight of the animals. The conjugate-treated mice, on the other hand, gained body weight, indicating that conjugation increases the therapeutic efficacy of the anti-cancer agent.

Similarly, fullerenol-cisplatin exhibited greater antiproliferative effect on the cancer cells as compared with free cisplatin, indicating that the nanoparticles confer an advantage to cisplatin chemotherapy, the researchers say.

The authors of this work are from: Laboratory of Nanomedicine, HST Center for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, US and National Chemical Laboratories, Pune, India.


  1. Chaudhuri, P. et al. Fullerenol-Cytotoxic Conjugates for Cancer Chemotherapy. ACS Nano. 3, 2505-2514 (2009) | Article |