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Human brain cancer stem cells treated with graphene, SEM

Dr Khuloud T. Al-Jamal

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False-coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of human cancer stem cells (CSCs) isolated from patients with brain cancer. The cell body (brown) and nucleus (blue) is highlighted here. In this image, a type of nanodelivery system based on graphene (yellow) is designed to target the CSC. Cancer stem cells are proposed to persist in tumours as a distinct population and cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumours. Development of specific therapies targeted at CSCs holds hope for improvement of survival and quality of life of brain cancer patients. New approaches in nanotechnology are one of the strategies being researched to target CSCs to either kill them or switch them into a non-tumorigenic cell type. The cells seen here have been modified so they can grow continuously in culture in order to test new treatments. Graphene is a 2-dimensional sheet of carbon one atom thick, and has been described as a wonder material as it is one of the thinnest, strongest materials so far discovered and conducts electricity more efficiently than copper. Diameter of each brain cancer stem cell is approximately 10 micrometres. Nanographene is a nanocarrier platform. It has a high surface area that allows attachment of multiple drugs, targeting and imaging molecules, and can be used to target more than one cell type e.g. a mammalian cancer cell or a bacterial cell. It is being researched for its ability to deliver drugs to specific cells (e.g. brain cancer stem cells) to either kill them directly or to correct the gene function of these cells to convert them from cancerous cells into normal cells.



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