Diamonds may help fight hard-to-treat cancers

March 10th, 2011 - 5:36 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Mar 10 (ANI): Diamonds are considered women’s best friend, but it could soon become a cancer patient’s best friend too- thanks to a new study.

Researchers from the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, have discovered that attaching chemotherapy drugs to tiny carbon particles called nanodiamonds could offer an effective drug delivery solution for hard-to-treat cancers.

The research shows promise because anticancer drug resistance often causes 90 percent of treatment failure in malignant cancer, reports Nature.

Nanodiamonds are carbon-based particles between 2 and 8 nanometers in diameter, with a truncated octahedral structure. They are non-toxic and do not cause inflammation. They are also cheap to produce in large quantities.

Lead researcher Dean Ho and his colleagues tested the technique in mouse models with liver and breast cancers by attaching anti-cancer drug doxorubicin to nanodiamonds.

They treated one group with the doxorubicin-nanodiamond complexes and another group with the drug alone.

They found that doxorubicin levels were 10 times higher in mice treated with the nanodiamond compound compared with mice given doxorubicin alone, and remained high for seven days.

They found that nanodiamond-doxirubicin significantly reduced the size of tumors in mice and increased the survival rates.

They also found that it reduced the toxicity of the drug by releasing it more slowly.

Ho said that the surface chemistry of nanodiamonds is what makes them special.

The diamonds’ facet surfaces possess differing properties, such as electrical charge. So a drug could be attached to one neutral surface.

The results are published this week in Science Translational Medicine1. (ANI)

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