Since its revolutionary discovery in 2004, graphene— a two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterial consisting of single-layer carbon atoms packed in a honeycomb lattice— was thoroughly discussed for a broad variety of applications including quantum physics, nanoelectronics, energy efficiency, and catalysis. Graphene and graphene-based nanomaterials (GBNs) have also captivated the interest of researchers for innovative biomedical applications since the first publication on the use of graphene as a nanocarrier for the delivery of anticancer drugs in 2008. Today, GBNs have evolved into hybrid combinations of graphene and other elements (e.g., drugs or other bioactive compounds, polymers, lipids, and nanoparticles). In the context of developing theranostic (therapeutic + diagnostic) tools, which combine multiple therapies with imaging strategies to track the distribution of therapeutic agents in the body, the multipurpose character of the GBNs hybrid systems has been further explored. Because each therapy and imaging strategy has inherent advantages and disadvantages, a mixture of complementary strategies is interesting as it will result in a synergistic theranostic effect. The flexibility of GBNs cannot be limited to their biomedical applications and, these nanosystems emerge as a viable choice for an indirect effect on health by their future use as environmental cleaners. Indeed, GBNs can be used in bioremediation approaches alone or combined with other techniques such as phytoremediation. In summary, without ignoring the difficulties that GBNs still present before being deemed translatable to clinical and environmental applications, the purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the remarkable potential of GBNs on health by presenting examples of their versatility as nanotools for theranostics and bioremediation.
Part of the book: Theranostics