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Conjugation of hydrophobic chemotherapeutic agents in carbon dots and applications in nanomedicine

Grant number: 19/24911-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - Condensed Matter Physics
Principal Investigator:Valtencir Zucolotto
Grantee:João Gabriel Gonçalves Chiquito
Host Institution: Instituto de Física de São Carlos (IFSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Cancer is one of the biggest challenges in world science today. The increased incidence of cancer and the healing difficulty leads to an extensive search for innovation and improvement in therapies. This need boosted the utilization of nanotechnology in medicine in the last few decades, thanks to the reduced size of nanomaterials, which offers unique and better properties in comparison to bigger particles. Some of these properties are the high specific area values and the possibility of cellular penetration that makes them perfect candidates to be used as drug delivery platforms, leading to an improvement in solubility and delivering, significant amounts of the active molecules in specific cells. Belonging to a subclass of nanomaterials, Carbon Dots (CDs) hold tunable fluorescent properties, low toxicity being promising molecular docking platforms, which make them viable to carry and distribute drugs with low solubility and low permeability like Etoposide and 6-Mercaptopurine, both used in the treatment of tumors. Furthermore, owing to their tunable fluorescence, CDs can be widely used in bioimaging of cellular uptake and temporal evolution of cancer. There are not enough studies exploring CDs as drug delivery platforms for Etoposide and 6-Mercaptopurine, however, few results have already shown the beneficial potential these nanomaterials can bring about in nanomedicine. Therefore, this project aims to analyze the viability of CD conjugation with Etoposide and 6-Mercaptopurine, through the investigation of characterization parameters like size, shape, charge, and fluorescence quantum yield. Cellular toxicity tests in healthy and cancer cells will also be investigated.

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