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Derivatized Fullerenes: A New Class of Therapeutics and Imaging Agents
Volume 4, Issue 4

John Miller, Arrowhead Research
MyPhuong Lam, Tego Biosciences
Russ Lebovitz, Tego Biosciences

In the 1970s, the discovery of recombinant DNA opened up a whole new approach to designing the-rapeutics. The introduction of erythropoietin (EPO) in the 1980s allowed Amgen to make the transition from a research and development company to a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company. Similarly, the development of nanoparticles in the 1990s has unleashed a new paradigm for treating and diagnosing disease. Like biotechnology, nanotechnology has the potential to radically transform medicine. While miracle products that give rise to multi-billion dollar firms have not yet arrived, there is reason to believe they may be near. Further, some of the early products in this new industry could be based on “derivat-ized fullerenes.” By themselves, fullerenes cannot be used for therapeutic purposes. When certain groups are attached to the surface of fullerenes, however, they can be made water soluble and useful for medical applications. In this article, the authors provide background on derivatized fullerenes, describe their potential to revolutionize medical imaging and treatment of disease, and explain why fullerene-based therapeutic compounds are unlikely to have toxic side effects.

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