Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee researchers have developed fluorescent carbon nanodots that can serve as “theranostic” (therapeutic and diagnostic) agents for cancer. 

Led by P Gopinath, a team of IIT Roorkee researchers, have developed nanosized (having dimensions of a few nano meter) carbon materials have been extracted from the leaves of the rosy periwinkle plant. Their work, supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board and Department of Biotechnology, has recently been published in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 

The identification of cancer cells and their inhibition/destruction have been continuing challenges in the field of oncology and cancer drug research for many decades. In the past few years, nanotechnology has emerged as one of the most promising areas in cancer diagnostics and treatment and nanomaterials. 

“Such events of real-time image guided anticancer therapy by a single system open a new paradigm in the field of anticancer therapy,” said Gopinath. 

“With these nanomaterials, we can identify the cancer cells and track them by an imaging system simultaneously as the cells themselves are being eradicated in a precise ‘surgical strike,” he said.