The alluring potential of functionalized carbon nanotubes in drug discovery

Many studies have shown the potential of functionalized carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as drug delivery systems to maintain and occasionally improve the biological activity of therapeutic molecules. Two main routes of cell uptake have been identified: i) direct cytoplasmic translocation (‘nanoneedle’ mechanism) and ii) phagocytosis/endocytosis processes. Cell internalization depends strongly on the type of CNTs and the functional groups on their surface. Functionalized CNTs are generally eliminated into the urine or feces. CNTs can be suitable nanovectors for drug delivery applications as they display negligible adverse effects. The attractive properties of CNTs can offer new opportunities for drug discovery and delivery over other delivery systems. Nevertheless, more studies are necessary to establish their advantages and limitation.