Carbon Nanotubes are allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure. Nanotubes are members of the fullerene structural family. Their name is derived from their long, hollow structure with the walls formed by one-atom-thick sheets of carbon, called graphene.  Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT) have a diameter of close to 1 nanometer, with a tube length that can be many millions of times longer. The structure of a SWCNT can be conceptualized by wrapping a one-atom-thick layer of graphite called graphene into a seamless cylinder.

The development of new and efficient drug delivery systems is of fundamental importance to improve the pharmacological profiles of numerous classes of therapeutic molecules. Currently there are a plethora of drug delivery systems available which have been successful yet there are major drawbacks involved which are damage of healthy tissue. This is particularly true of cancer drugs. Nanotechnology harnesses current progress in chemistry, physics, materials science, and biotechnology to create novel materials that have unique properties because their structures are determined on the nanometer scale. Single Walled Carbon Nanotubes or "SWCNT" have been recognized as the quintessential nano-materials and have acquired the status of one of the most active fields of nano-science and nanotechnology. SWCNTS have potential therapeutic applications in the fields of drug delivery, diagnostics, biosensing and tissue engineering by acting as scaffolds. SWCNTS have been shown to be minimal toxicity and be efficacious in our in vivo studies. They can pass through membranes, carrying therapeutic drugs, vaccines, and nucleic acids deep into the cell to targets previously unreachable by conventional drug delivery systems.

Single walled carbon nanotube can be used for delivery of nucleic acids for gene therapy and has the ability to overcome the problems by other viral and non-viral platforms.  SWCNT are able to readily transport gene therapy into primary human cells such as white blood cells therefore can replace viral vectors.

Our Research with SWCNT

The Holy Grail in cancer therapy is to deliver high doses of drug molecules to tumor sites for maximum treatment efficacy while minimizing side effects to normal organs. Through the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, nanostructured materials upon systemic injection can accumulate in tumor tissues by escaping through the tumor blood vessels, making them useful for drug delivery applications. As a unique material, SWCNT can effectively shuttle various bio-molecules into cells including drugs, peptides, proteins, immunotherapies, via processes of nanospearing and endocytosis.

The ultra-high surface area of these macromolecules allows for efficient loading of chemotherapy drugs. We have investigated the in vivo behavior of SWCNTS in animals. Tumor accumulation of SWCNT functionalized with siRNA drugs have shown high efficacy.  These results set a foundation for Ensysce to apply single walled carbon nanotubes to the delivery of numerous therapeutic applications.

SWCNT have been shown to have low toxicity and be efficacious in animal studies.  They pass through membranes, carrying therapeutic payloads into the cell to targets previously unreachable by conventional drug delivery systems..

The Advantages We Have Observed with SWCNT

  • Narrow Diameter - Ease of cell membrane penetration
  • Readily Escapes - Endosomal capture
  • Stablizes and Protects - Drug payload in the circulation
  • Transport & Payload - Rapidly releases in cell ensuring gene target inhibition
  • Large Surface Area - To attach large macromolecules as DNA & RNA or proteins