Carbon nanotubes have shown broad potential in biomedical applications, given their unique mechanical, optical, and chemical properties. Functionalized carbon nanotubes not only can deliver drug into specific organs but also can inherently produce heating by near-infrared laser radiation for cancer therapy. However, the toxicological and pharmacological profile of such carbon nanotube system will have to be determined prior to any clinical study undertaken. For providing a guide to develop safe drug carriers, this review discusses the functionalization, toxicity and pharmacokinetics of carbon nanotubes. Lastly, the drug delivery and thermal ablation on carbon nanotubes are proposed.
Keywords: Carbon nanotubes, toxicity, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics.