Carbon nanohorns are suitable platforms for use in biological applications. Their high surface areas allow the incorporation of molecular entities, such as polyamidoamine dendrimers. In this work, we report the synthesis, structural characterization and biological data of new hybrid systems of carbon nanohorns that hold polyamidoamine dendrimers. One of these derivatives has been employed as an agent for gene delivery. The system is able to release interfering genetic material diminishing the levels of a house-keeping protein and a protein directly involved in prostate cancer development. Importantly, this hybrid material is also far less toxic than the corresponding free dendrimer. These results allow us to conclude that these nanomaterials can be exploited as useful non-viral agents for gene therapy.

This paper was originally published in Carbon (2012) 50, 2832–2844.

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