Professor Dean Ho of Northwestern University seems to be the king of nanodiamonds, laying them down as a drug-delivery solution to hard-to-treat cancers. In Science Translational Medicine, Ho and colleagues describe how they bound a normally lethal amount of a chemotherapy drug to his precious nanodiamonds, significantly reducing the size of tumors in mice. Survival rates also increased and no toxic effects on tissues and organs were observed.
Nanodiamonds are 2 nm in diameter in single-particle form, and can be manipulated to form clusters with diameters in the 50-100 nm range. This makes them ideal for drug delivery by shielding and slowly releasing drugs trapped within the cluster of diamonds. Ho is calling this recent study the first significant work proving the potential of nanodiamonds in treatment of chemotherapy-resistant cancers.
"Our results show the nanodiamond's enormous translational potential towards significantly improving the efficacy of drug-resistant cancer treatment and simultaneously improving safety," Ho said in a statement. "These are critical benefits. We chose to study these chemo-resistant cancers because they remain one of the biggest barriers to treating cancer and improving patient survival."
Despite the expensive sound to "nanodiamond," they're actually inexpensive to formulate into drugs, according to co-author Edward K. Chow, a postoctoral fellow with the G.W. Hooper Foundation and the University of California, San Francisco. "Nanodiamonds possess numerous hallmarks of an ideal drug delivery system and are promising platforms for advancing cancer therapy," Chow said.