Since their discovery in 1985, fullerenes have been investigated extensively due to their unique physical and chemical properties. In recent years, studies on functionalized fullerenes for various applications in the field of biomedical sciences have seen a significant increase. The ultimate goal is towards employing these functionalized fullerenes in the diagnosis and therapy of human diseases. Functionalized fullerenes are one of the many different classes of compounds that are currently being investigated in the rapidly emerging field of nanomedicine. In this review, the focus is on the three categories of drug delivery, reactive oxygen species quenching, and targeted imaging for which functionalized fullerenes have been studied in depth. In addition, an exhaustive list of the different classes of functionalized fullerenes along with their applications is provided. We will also discuss and summarize the unique approaches, mechanisms, advantages, and the aspect of toxicity behind utilizing functionalized fullerenes for biomedical applications.
Keywords: buckysomes; drug delivery; fullerenes; functionalized fullerenes; nanomedicine; radiation protection.