Carcinogenic and Fibrogenic Potential of Carbon Nanotubes

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 12.56.55 PMDr. Yon Rojanasakul


School of Pharmacy, West Virginia University

 Dr. Liying Wang, M.D.

Adjunct Professor, 

Department of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, West Virginia University

Date:         December 12, 2013

Time:          12:30-1:30pm

Place:        665 Huntington Ave,

Bldg 1, Room 1302,

Boston, MA 02115


Abstract: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are high-aspect ratio nanomaterials that have increasingly been used in a wide variety of commercial applications owing to their unique properties such as high tensile strength, extreme light weight, and high electrical and thermal conductivity. There is a great concern about the potential pathogenicity of CNTs because of their biopersistence, mode of exposure, and structure similarity to asbestos fiber, which is a known human pathogen causing mesothelioma and asbestosis. Our laboratories have been investigating the long-term health effects of CNT exposure with a focus on lung carcinogenesis and fibrosis. There is evidence that CNTs can gain access to the nucleus and cause genetic aberrations. A recent animal exposure study indicates the tumor promoting effect of CNTs. Studies in our laboratories have shown that chronic exposure of human lung epithelial cells to CNTs induces malignant transformation of the cells as demonstrated by anchorage-independent cell growth, loss of contact inhibition, increased cell invasion, and acquired apoptosis resistance. The transformed cells also induce tumorigenesis in mice, supporting the potential tumorigenicity of CNTs in humans. CNTs also induce pulmonary fibrosis, a pathology that is often associated with particle-induced lung cancer. This talk will focus on the in vitro and in vivo evidence of lung pathologies caused by CNTs and will examine the potential underlying mechanisms with the goal of developing mechanism-based risk assessment and early detection strategies.