According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 2013). Thus, there are intensive efforts to develop new approaches for treating this chronic disease. A type of compound that is known to have inhibitory effects on cell growth are nanomaterials (Arora, Rajwade, & Paknikar, 2012), so investigation into the anti-cancer effects of these molecules is appropriate. Furthermore, nanomaterials have previously been studied as a delivery method for cancer drugs with good results (Tripisciano Kraemer, Taylor, & Brorowiak-Palen, 2009). The present research proposes studying the use of nanomaterials alone, without the drug component, to inhibit cancer cell growth.
Graphene is a nanomaterial that is a crystalline form of carbon where the atoms are arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern. Its use in therapeutic applications including cancer have been studied (Feng, Wu, & Qu, 2013). The proposed experiment is the administration of graphene to cells from a cancer cell line for a 24 hour period and using a tetrazolim dye (MTT) assay to measure the absorbance value at 570nm to determine the number of cells that are live, as compared to a control well that does not receive graphene. Results will be determined by the student t-test method, with a P one-tail value below 0.05 expected for an effective treatment. The hypothesis is that graphene will function as an anti-growth agent and there will be significantly less live cells within the wells that receive graphene as compared to wells that do not. Additionally, use of Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) to image the cells that have had graphene administered will also be used.
Arora, S., Rajwade, J. M., and Paknikar, K. M. (2012). Nanotoxicology and in vitro studies: The need of the hour. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 258: 151-65.
Feng, L., Wu, L., & Qu, X. (2013). New horizons for diagnostics and therapeutic applications of graphene and graphene oxide. Retrieved from
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2013). Cancer. Retrieved from
Tripisciano, C., Kraemer, K., Taylor, A. & Brorowiak-Palen, E. (2009). Single-wall carbon nanotubes based anticancer drug delivery system. Chemical Physics Letters. 478: 200-5.