In 1985, the serendipitous discovery of fullerene triggered the research of carbon structures into the world of symmetric nanomaterials. Consequently, Robert F. Curl, Harold W. Kroto and Richard E. Smalley were awarded the Noble prize in chemistry for their discovery of the buckminsterfullerene (C60 with a cage-like fused-ring structure). Fullerene, as the first symmetric nanostructure in carbon nanomaterials family, opened up new perspectives in nanomaterials field leading to discovery and research on other symmetric carbon nanomaterials like carbon nanotubes and two-dimensional graphene which put fullerenes in the shade, while fullerene as the most symmetrical molecule in the world with incredible properties deserves more attention in nanomaterials studies. Buckyball with its unique structure consisting of sp2 carbons which form a high symmetric cage with different sizes (C60, C70 and so on); however, the most abundant among them is C60 which possesses 60 carbon atoms. The combination of unique properties of this molecule extends its applications in divergent areas of science, especially those related to biomedical engineering. This review aims to be a comprehensive review with a broad interest to the biomedical engineering community, being a substantial overview of the most recent advances on fullerenes in biomedical applications that have not been exhaustively and critically reviewed in the past few years.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.mattod.2017.03.017