The Synthesis and Use of Gelatin Functionalized Graphene Oxide for Cancer Therapy

Friday, 13 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Aaron C. K. Lucander, Davidson, NC
Two methods for cancer therapy are photothermal therapy, the use of heat produced by radiation to deteriorate cancer cells, and chemotherapy, the use of drugs to destroy cancer cells. Research shows that a combination of these treatments is significantly more effective than either alone, but a common problem is that heat and drug release are not concentrated at the same points. Here, we studied gelatin functionalized graphene oxide (gelatin-GO) as a novel nanocarrier for combining these treatments. In a high school laboratory, we synthesized graphene oxide with a modified Hummer’s method and functionalized the graphene oxide with gelatin. We then assessed the temperature increase of gelatin-GO under 808 nm radiation and loaded a fluorescent dye, rhodamine, onto the gelatin-GO to test its ability as as a nanocarrier. We found that the gelatin-GO heated up three times as much as water in five minutes and that a significant quantity of rhodamine was released by the gelatin-GO. These data show that gelatin-GO is a viable candidate for chemotherapy and photothermal therapy, reducing side effects by concentrating these treatments. In future research, we plan to test the chemotherapeutic and photothermal properties of graphene oxide functionalized with other groups, and also to test the in vivo properties of gelatin-GO.