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Nanoengineers mine tiny diamonds for drug delivery
Date:10/12/2007

important. And thats why clinicians are interested in our work.

Novel drug delivery systems, such as the one being developed by Dean and his team, hold great promise in cancer therapeutics, said Steven Rosen, M.D., director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and Genevieve E. Teuton Professor of Medicine at Northwesterns Feinberg School of Medicine. We anticipate they will allow for more sophisticated means of targeting cancer cells while sparing healthy cells from a drugs toxicity.

To make the material effective, Ho and his colleagues manipulated single nanodiamonds, each only two nanometers in diameter, to form aggregated clusters of nanodiamonds, ranging from 50 to 100 nanometers in diameter. The drug, loaded onto the surface of the individual diamonds, is not active when the nanodiamonds are aggregated; it only becomes active when the cluster reaches its target, breaks apart and slowly releases the drug. (With a diameter of two to eight nanometers, hundreds of thousands of diamonds could fit onto the head of a pin.)

The nanodiamond cluster provides a powerful release in a localized place -- an effective but less toxic delivery method, said co-author Eric Pierstorff, a molecular biologist and post-doctoral fellow in Hos research group. Because of the large amount of available surface area, the clusters can carry a large amount of drug, nearly five times the amount of drug carried by conventional materials.

Liposomes and polymersomes, both spherical nanoparticles, currently are used for drug delivery. While effective, they are essentially hollow spheres loaded with an active drug ready to kill any cells, even healthy cells that are encountered as they travel to their target. Liposomes and polymersomes also are very large, about 100 times the size of nanodiamonds -- SUVs compared to the nimble nanodiamond clusters that can circulate throughout the body and penetrate cell membranes more e
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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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