Uses and Applications of C60
Ever since the discovery of the carbon-60 molecule, scientists have undertaken extensive research to determine its biomedical applications. The greatest challenge that the research posed was the tendency of C60 to form aggregates and its insolubility in water mediums. However, they overcame this challenge using a variety of techniques such as suspending the molecule with other solvents and encapsulation of C60 with hydrophilic molecules. C60 has various uses and applications which will be discussed below.
C60 molecules make very powerful antioxidants. This amazing property is attributed to their high electron affinity and their huge number of double bonds. C60 has the ability to react with many free radicals before getting consumed. A single C60 molecule has the potential of interacting with up to 34 free radicals before getting used up. For this reason, C60 molecules are also known as the world’s most efficient radical scavengers or radical sponge. They are antioxidants which can be localized within the cells which make them powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants work to protect the cells from getting damaged by free radicals.
C60 molecules have become subject to a lot of attention due to their potential as antiviral agents. The most stunning aspect about this is that they may be capable of suppressing the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thereby delaying the onset of AIDS. Cationic C60 derivatives are antiproliferative and antibacterial in nature. Most C60 derivatives can destroy the hepatitis C virus. Those derivatives that are soluble in water exhibit antiviral properties against enveloped viruses. When C60 derivatives are incubated with the vesicular stomatitis virus under clear light, the virus loses its infectivity.
Drug and Gene Delivery
Drug delivery requires the proper transportation of the drug compound to its action site. On the other hand, gene delivery requires the careful introduction of foreign DNA into the cells to bring about a desired effect. In both cases, there is the need for great efficiency and safety in the delivery process. C60 oil molecules are great inorganic carriers that enjoy wonderful bio compatibility, are small enough for diffusion and maintain the biological activity. Therefore, C60 can be used to deliver hydrophobic drugs. They can also easily diffuse through intact skin due to their ability to penetrate the skin.
Photosensitizers in Photodynamic Therapy
Photodynamic therapy is a type of therapy that uses non-toxic light sensitive compound which becomes toxic when exposed to light. It is meant to target malignant and altered cells. C60 molecules are used as these compounds and they get excited when irradiated to the ground state. They then give off energy that splits the oxygen available to create singlet oxygen which tends to be cytotoxic in nature. C60 molecules are converted into radicals in the presence of electron donors. The radical anions transfer electrons to oxygen molecules and then to anionic superoxide and hydroxyl radicals. These radicals cause cell death and damage DNA.
There are other uses of C60 such as in protective eye wear, hydrogen gas storage and many more. This carbon molecule is useful in so many ways and more research is being carried out to determine the extent of its uses. Be sure to watch out for more uses and applications.