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Nano-Diamond Therapy

August 18, 2009

Nano-sized diamonds can help deliver targeted doses of insulin to heal burns.


Drug-coated diamonds. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In medicine, there’s always a balancing act between delivering enough of a drug to work, and not overdosing. Northwestern University biomedical engineer Dean Ho says tiny diamond specks called nano-diamonds may help. He says the highly structured surfaces of nano-diamonds can hold drug particles tightly and release them under controlled conditions. One example is an effective but highly toxic cancer drug.

DEAN HO (Northwestern University):
What we’ve been able to show is that we can sustain the release of that drug, and it only activates when it comes off the nano-diamond surface.

Now, his team is working with insulin, which can help burns and severe wounds heal faster. Ho’s nano-diamonds released the insulin only when the wound was still festering, which creates a more alkaline environment than that of intact skin. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.