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Carbon nanotubes have recently gained interest as potential vehicles for use in advanced drug delivery systems. A highly relevant application for such systems is the treatment of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. Recently, one study showed that single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) could be used to deliver tetracycline in a manner that could combat tetracycline-resistant Escherichia coli. However, the scope of this system is believed to be limited to antibiotics that contain conjugated π systems. The current study is therefore focused on developing a system that is compatible with non-conjugated antibiotics such as clarithromycin. The proposed system is comprised of two parts: a cysteine functionalized SWNT and a cysteine-clarithromycin conjugate. These pieces can be joined together via a disulfide bond, which can then be cleaved by reducing enzymes once in the target cell. While the proposed system could not be fully realized due to unforeseen circumstances, the cysteine-clarithromycin conjugate has been synthesized and an improved synthesis of cysteine functionalized nanotubes has also been developed.
Johnson, Broderick, "Toward the Development of a Carbon Nanotube Drug Delivery System for Clarithromycin" (2020). Chemistry Honors Papers. 65.