Pharmaceutical applications of graphene

Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2017 Feb 15;71(0):129-136. doi: 10.5604/01.3001.0010.3797.


Nowadays, dynamic development in nanotechnological sciences is observed. Nanoparticles are frequently used in medicine and pharmacy as delivery systems for different kinds of active substances. One of the latest developed substances, with an unusually wide scope of utility, is graphene. The ways of its use in different fields of industry, not only pharmaceutical and medical, have been a subject of study for many research groups since the moment of its development in 2004. Graphene in pure form is highly hydrophobic. However, the presence of defects on its surface allows chemical modifications to be made, e.g. introduction of oxygen groups by covalent bonding. Also, non-covalent modifications are extensively used, including van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonding, coordination bonds, electrostatic and π-π stacking interactions. Due to the large surface area, graphene can be used in combination therapy, consisting in simultaneous administration of two or more pharmacologically active agents. Another interesting approach is gene therapy. Application of the PEI-graphene oxide system increased the efficacy of transfection. Possibilities of graphene and graphene oxide are not limited to their use as active substance delivery systems. These compounds by themselves were also found to be bacteriostatic and antibacterial agents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Graphite / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Nanotechnology
  • Oxides / pharmacology*


  • Oxides
  • Graphite