Using graphene to line drug-delivery catheters could improve the efficacy of chemotherapy, according to the findings of an international study. The research showed that the common drug 5-Fluorouracil (5-Fu) can interact with silver, a widely used catheter coating material. As a result, the 5-Fu may not deliver the desired therapeutic effect. Furthermore, the reaction may create hydrogen fluoride, which may be injected into the patient. “As far as we know, nobody has ever looked at the chemical reaction between chemotherapy drugs and the materials they routinely come into contact with, such as catheters and needles and their coatings,” said co-author Justin Wells, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. “It is just assumed that the drugs are delivered into the body intact.”
Wells and co-workers propose using graphene, a biocompatible material with low toxicity, as an alternative coating material. They employed X-ray photoemission spectroscopy to study the chemical composition of 5-Fu and its reactions with silver and graphene. Results showed that when 5-Fu comes into contact with silver, reactions occur in which there is a massive loss of fluoride from the drug, leading to the creation of hydrogen fluoride. When the experiment was repeated with 5-Fu and graphene, these reactions completely disappeared and there was no damage to the drug (2D Mater. 2 025004).