A recent article published earlier this year investigated the use of graphene oxide in nanocomposites for use as drug carriers.
Graphene oxide has been researched in many application areas, one of which is in drug carriers. The high surface area and potential for functionalisation result in the possibility to load drugs onto the graphene oxide nanosheets. While graphene oxide disperses well in aqueous systems, it has been found that in physiological systems it will aggregate, limiting its potential use. To overcome this issue researchers have looked to both functionalisation of the graphene oxide and the formation of nanocomposites with other materials.
Bacterial cellulose has also recently become of interest as a drug carrier for several reasons, including its good biocompatibility and its web-like structure, which allows it to support drugs. The research presented in a recent paper illustrates the benefit of combining graphene oxide with bacterial cellulose. The study focussed on in vitro studies of the release of ibuprofen, comparing ibuprofen on bacterial cellulose to ibuprofen on a bacterial cellulose/graphene oxide composite. At both a neutral and acidic pH, the GO composite material showed a more sustained and controlled release of ibuprofen than when supported on bacterial cellulose alone. This indicates that the presence of graphene oxide aids in providing a more controlled release of the drug.
The study also noted several other interesting differences between the bacterial cellulose only carrier and the GO composite. Using a cell counting kit 8 assay, the research showed that graphene oxide increased the biocompatibility of the bacterial cellulose. Two different GO loadings were studied in the biocompatibility tests, with the lower loading showing superior performance. This indicates that too much graphene oxide is detrimental in terms of biocompatibility in this application, although both loadings did show a higher biocompatibility than the bacterial cellulose on its own. The research also found that it was possible to achieve a higher ibuprofen loading on the GO composite material, even in the lower graphene oxide content nanocomposite.
This research has illustrated multiple benefits to forming nanocomposites of graphene oxide and bacterial cellulose for use as drug carriers. It has provided yet another example of the diversity of research which graphene oxide is currently being investigated in. If you are considering using graphene oxide in your research, please get in touch and a member of the team will be happy to discuss which form of graphene oxide they think would be most appropriate for your research.
Reference: Curr. Appl. Phys. 2017, 17, 249-254