Graphene Coating Boosts Chemotherapy Drug Effectiveness

Silver is a useful element to prevent bacterial growth.

Silver is a useful element to prevent bacterial growth.

Researchers have found a solution after learning that silver coating on catheter equipment can break down the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.

Silver is a useful element to prevent bacterial growth. This is critical for patients receiving intravenous (IV) medication with compromised immune systems, like those on chemotherapy.

A physics research team at Norweigan University of Science and Technology (NTNU) used x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS) to look at a common chemotherapy drug, 5-Fluorouracil (5-Fu), and found that not only does silver reduce chemotherapy drug effectiveness, but it also emits a harmful gas, hydrogen fluoride.

To fix this problem, the team at NTNU tested to see how the same chemotherapy drugs would react with a different metal, graphene. Graphene, sometimes called a "magical material," did not react with chemotherapy drugs and boosted chemotherapy's effects.

"This research has produced valuable information about the interaction between chemotherapy drugs and other substances that the medicine is in contact with,” said Justin Wells, an associate professor of physics at NTNU. “We hope that our work will contribute to making cancer treatment more effective, and that we can continue our work in this area. We would like to study the reaction between chemotherapy drugs and other substances and coatings used on medical equipment.”