Research Highlight

Fluorescent cancer killer

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.153 Published online 12 October 2012

Researchers have developed a novel multi-component magnetic nanosystem that could image and kill cancer cells. The researchers made the nanosystem using graphene oxide (GO), dendrimer, a type of highly branched molecule, iron oxide nanoparticles, glutathione, and a fluorescent probe.

Such nanosystems could be used to ferry anticancer drugs, and in combination with radiotherapies such as phototherapy and hyperthermia utilizing near-infrared radiation.

No studies have previously investigated the biomedical potential of GO-attached multi-component nanosystems. The researchers first attached poly-(amido amine) PAMAM G4 dendrimer (G4) to GO in solution phase and then anchored iron oxide-glutathione magnetic nanoparticles to the G4-attached GO. Finally, they attached cyanine (Cy), a fluorescent probe, yielding a multi-component magnetic nanosystem (GO-G4-Fe-Cy).

The cell imaging potential and biocompatibility of the nanosystem were studied and compared with the nanosystem without iron oxide nanoparticles and free Cy using two breast cancer cell lines. The results were encouraging.

"This nanosystem is a wonderful near-infrared probe for imaging cancer cells and could be modulated by applying high-frequency external magnetic field during radiation therapies," says lead researcher Jayant Khandare.

The authors of this work are from: NCE-Polymer Chemistry Group and Cancer Biology Group, Piramal Healthcare Ltd, Goregaon, Mumbai, India, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, and Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Research Laboratory, Center for Structural and Functional Materials and Chemical Engineering Department, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, USA.


  1. Wate, P. S. et al. Cellular imaging using biocompatible dendrimer-functionalized grapheme oxide-based fluorescent probe anchored with magnetic nanoparticles. Nanotechnology. 23, 415101 (2012) | Article | PubMed |