Hand-ground fullerene-nanodiamond composite for photosensitized water treatment and photodynamic cancer therapy

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2021 Apr:587:101-109. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2020.12.020. Epub 2020 Dec 11.


The unique capability of fullerene (C60) to absorb light and generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been extensively studied for photosensitized water treatment and cancer therapy. Various material synthesis strategies have been proposed in parallel to overcome its intrinsic hydrophobicity and to enhance availability in water and physiological media. We present here a strikingly simple approach to make C60 available to these applications by hand-grinding dry C60 powder with nanodiamond (ND) using a mortar and pestle. The resulting ND-C60 composite was found to form a stable aqueous colloidal suspension and efficiently drive photosensitized production of ROS under visible light illumination. ND-C60 rapidly adsorbed and oxidized organic contaminants by photogenerated ROS. In the experiments for photodynamic cancer therapy, ND-C60 was internalized by cancer cells and induced cell apoptosis without noticeable toxicity. Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with ND-C60 and light irradiation resulted in tumor shrinkage and prolonged survival time.

Keywords: Fullerene C(60); Nanodiamond; Singlet oxygen; Targeted cancer chemotherapy; Water purification.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fullerenes*
  • Mice
  • Nanodiamonds*
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Photochemotherapy*
  • Water Purification*


  • Fullerenes
  • Nanodiamonds