Nanotube interactions with microtubules: implications for cancer medicine

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Abstract

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and microtubules are both hollow nanofibers and have similar dimensions; they both self-assemble and form bundles. These common features prompt their association into biosynthetic polymers in vitro and in vivo. Unlike CNTs, microtubules are highly dynamic protein polymers essential for cell proliferation and migration. Interaction between these filaments inside live cells leads to microtubule dysfunction, mitotic arrest and cell death. Thus, CNTs behave as spindle poisons, same as taxanes, vinca alkaloids or epotilones. Recent findings support the idea that CNTs represent a ground-breaking type of synthetic microtubule-stabilizing agents that could play a pivotal role in future cancer treatments in combination to traditional antineoplastic drugs. Here we review the potential use of CNTs in cancer medicine.

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