Hyaluronic acid functionalized green reduced graphene oxide for targeted cancer photothermal therapy

Rita Lima-Sousa, Duarte de Melo-Diogo, Cátia G. Alves, Elisabete C. Costa, Paula Ferreira, Ricardo O. Louro, Ilídio J. Correia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) nanomaterials display promising properties for application in cancer photothermal therapy (PTT). rGO is usually obtained by treating graphene oxide (GO) with hydrazine hydrate. However, this reducing agent contributes for the low cytocompatibility exhibited by rGO. Furthermore, rGO has a low water stability and does not show selectivity towards cancer cells. Herein, rGO attained using an environmentally-friendly method was functionalized with a novel hyaluronic acid (HA)-based amphiphilic polymer to be used in targeted cancer PTT. Initially, the green-reduction of GO with L-Ascorbic acid was optimized considering the near infrared absorption and the size distribution of the nanomaterials. Then, rGO was functionalized with the HA-based amphiphile. The functionalization of rGO improved its stability, cytocompatibility and internalization by CD44 overexpressing cells, which indicates the targeting capacity of this nanoformulation. Furthermore, the on-demand PTT mediated by HA-functionalized rGO induced cancer cells’ ablation, thereby confirming its potential for targeted cancer therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalCarbohydrate Polymers
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018


  • 2D materials
  • Green chemistry
  • Hyaluronan
  • Photothermal effect
  • Targeted therapy


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