Graphene and the immune system: Challenges and potentiality

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In the growing area of nanomedicine, graphene-based materials (GBMs) are some of the most recent explored nanomaterials. For the majority of GBM applications in nanomedicine, the immune system plays a fundamental role. It is necessary to well understand the complexity of the interactions between GBMs, the immune cells, and the immune components and how they could be of advantage for novel effective diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. In this review, we aimed at painting the current picture of GBMs in the background of the immune system. The picture we have drawn looks like a cubist image, a sort of Picasso-like portrait looking at the topic from all perspectives: the challenges (due to the potential toxicity) and the potentiality like the conjugation of GBMs to biomolecules to develop advanced nanomedicine tools. In this context, we have described and discussed i) the impact of graphene on immune cells, ii) graphene as immunobiosensor, and iii) antibodies conjugated to graphene for tumor targeting.

Thanks to the huge advances on graphene research, it seems realistic to hypothesize in the near future that some graphene immunoconjugates, endowed of defined immune properties, can go through preclinical test and be successfully used in nanomedicine.

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