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Graphene Uses and Applications in Medicine

1. Graphene in Drug Delivery

Functionalized graphene can be used to carry chemotherapy drugs to tumors for cancer patients. Graphene based carriers targeted cancer cells better and reduced and decreased toxicity of the effected healthy cells. Drug delivery is not limited to cancer treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs have also been carried by graphene & chitosan combinations and yielded promising results.

2. Graphene in Cancer Treatment

Graphene can also detect cancer cells in the early stages of the disease. Moreover, it can stop them from growing any further in many types of cancer by intervening the correct formation of the tumor or causing autophagy which leads to the death of cancer cells.

3. Graphene in Gene Delivery

Gene delivery is a method used to cure some genetic diseases by bringing foreign DNA into cells. Graphene Oxide modified by Polyethyleneimine can be used for these purposes is expected to show low cytotoxicity, as it did in the drug delivery case.

4. Graphene in Diabetes Monitoring

Scientists from the University of Bath have developed a blood glucose monitoring test which does not pierce the skin, unlike currently used finger prick tests. This patch, including a graphene sensor, is able to work on a small area containing at least one hair follicle. It detects the glucose by pulling it from the fluid present between the cells. This does not only end the painful methods of blood sugar monitoring, but is also expected to increase the accuracy of the results.

5. Graphene in Dialysis

Graphene membranes are not only useful for the energy, nuclear and food industries. A group of researchers from MIT showed that graphene can be used to filter the blood from wastes, drugs and chemicals as well. Graphene's superiority in this case is that it is 20 times thinner than traditional membranes which leads to significant decrease in the time spent in the dialysis for the patients.

6. Graphene in Bone and Teeth Implantation

Hydroxyapatite, a form of calcium apatite, is a material used as a synthetic bone substitute for regenerated bone and dental tissues. Graphene, combined with Hydroxyapatite and Chitosan, have shown increase in the strength, corrosion resistance, flexibility and mechanical & osteogenic properties of the substitute when compared to HAp alone.

7. Graphene UV Sensors

UV sensors are used for detecting dangerous levels of ultra-violet radiation which can lead to skin problems or even cancer. However, it is not the only use of UV sensors, they are used in the military, optical communication, and environmental monitoring as well. On its own, graphene may not present a high photoresponsivity but when it is combined with other materials, they create flexible, transparent, environmentally-friendly and low-cost UV sensors which will lead to technologies such as wearable electronics in the close future.

8. Graphene Biosensors

One of the advantages of graphene is its ability to detect minimal amounts of substances. Even a single molecule in a large volume can be detected with it. Biosensors made of graphene, graphene oxide or reduced graphene oxide show ultrasensitive properties when detecting DNA, ATP, dopamine, oligonucleotides, thrombin, and different atoms. There are several medical companies that already sell medical sensors made with graphene.

9. Graphene Bactericide

Graphene is a magnificent bactericidal material as it avoids the generation of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, by damaging their cell membranes between its outer layers. When compared to different derivatives of Graphene, Graphene Oxide and reduced Graphene Oxide shows the best antibacterial effects. GO can also be used as a compound with silver nanoparticles to increase antibacterial properties even further.

10. Graphene in Birth Control

Graphene has all the properties that is desired in a condom: it is flexible, extra strong and extremely thin. Researchers from Manchester University have worked on developing a “supercondom” made of graphene and latex combined. The research has received many funding, including one from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

11. Graphene in Body Scans

Unlike X-rays, T-waves which can be used for body scanning are harmless to human body. However, there is a catch. T-waves, or THZ radiation, is hard to both detect and generate. The good news is, with the help of some modifications and other materials, CVD graphene can detect THZ radiation successfully. This will not only lead to safer body scans, but also incredibly faster internet in the future.

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