Drug delivery systems are based on engineered materials or carriers for the effective delivery of drugs or pharmaceutical compounds to their target site to achieve a desired therapeutic effect. Graphene nanomaterials can act as outstanding carrier materials for drug delivery applications. Graphene provides ultra-high drug-loading efficiency due to the wide surface area. Advantages of advanced drug delivery systems based on graphene-like structures over traditional systems are the ability to deliver a drug more selectively to a specific site; easier, more accurate, less frequent dosing; decreased variability in systemic drug concentrations; absorption that is more consistent with the site and mechanism of action; and reductions in toxic metabolite. The large specific surface area of graphene-like materials supports the absorption and binding of antibodies, adapters, drugs, genes, enzymes, and other molecules.
Chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, and even chemo-radiotherapy cancer treatments have been in use for a long time, and yet cancer metastasis remains one of the most critical challenges in the medical field, as well as one of the primary causes of cancer mortality. Photothermal therapy (PTT) is less damaging among other cancer treatment methods largely due to its creative use of heat. Photothermal therapy refers to efforts to use electromagnetic radiation for the treatment of various medical conditions, including cancer. This approach is an extension of photodynamic therapy, in which a photosensitizer is excited with specific band light. In recent years, graphene-based nanomaterials have been used in PTT due to their special physical and chemical properties. Graphene, carbon nanotubes, and their derivatives have strong near-infrared absorbance for acting as photothermal agents and have large surface areas that can be functionalized with anti-cancer drugs, biocompatibility-enhancing molecules, and specific cell-targeting biomolecules for use as anti-cancer nano-drugs.