Carbon nanotube-based drug delivery holds great promise for cancer therapy. Targeted drug delivery reduces the amount of chemotherapeutic drugs used in cancer treatment and therefore minimizes undesirable side effects. The reduced dosage without compromising the drug efficacy will make the cancer treatment more potent and targeted to killing the cancer and more affordable and available to a larger community.Cromoz Inc, a North Carolina (USA) bases advanced materials innovator and manufacturer focused on the development of carbon nanotechnology-enabled products for the biomedical use. The company?s products are based on two proprietary technologies, water-soluble carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and water-soluble fluorescent carbon quantum dots.Carbon nanotubes are sub-microscopic particles that have been the subject of intense cancer research. Resembling tiny rolls of chicken wire, they are exploited for their exceptional strength as well as their chemical, optical and electrical properties. The unique characteristics make them very useful for use in drug delivery. Given their extremely high surface area-to-mass ratios, small amounts of carbon nanotubes, which are insoluble in water, have the potential to transport relatively large amounts of adsorbed toxins.To improve the use in drug delivery, some researchers have used a common technique to wrap nanotube with hydrophilic molecules to make them disperse in water. In a new process, Cromoz has been able to make carbon nanotubes water-soluble, making them even better suited for drug delivery.The water-soluble carbon nanotubes, which have functional groups on the walls that allows for conjugation with cancer drugs, was developed in partnership with the Indian Institute of Kanpur (ITT). The conjugated carbon nanotubes serves as a drug delivery vehicle with the ability to target the cancer site which has the potential to increase the drug efficacy.”Certain percentage of these carbon nanotubes are composed of smaller quantum carbon dots,” stated Iffat Allam, President & CEO of Cromoz Inc. “The nontoxic carbon quantum dots can be used as Fluorescent Probes for imaging living biological processes and to monitor cancer growth. These quantum dots are of assorted sizes, they absorb and emit light at different wavelengths. This results in multi-colored images which will be very useful to diagnose a specific organ and its function and the effect of drug delivery to specific cancer sites.”The company targeted drug deliver includes taxol and gemcitabine and is currently working with Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Maryland (USA) in further development of viable drug delivery applications for carbon nanotubes. A company spokesman said that the company will initiate a new research, development and manufacturing facility in Biotech Park in Hyderabad, India in early 2010.Also read:Bhirde AA, Patel V, Gavard J, Zhang G, et al Targeted killing of cancer cells in vivo and in vitro with EGF-directed carbon nanotube-based drug delivery. ACS Nano. 2009 Feb 24;3(2):307-16.