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

asily.

Unlike many of the emerging nanoparticles, nanodiamonds are soluble in water, making them clinically important. Five years ago while working in Japan, I first encountered nanodiamonds and saw it was a very soluble material, said materials scientist Houjin Huang, lead author of the paper and also a post-doctoral fellow in Hos group. I thought nanodiamonds might be useful in electronics, but I didnt find any applications. Then I moved to Northwestern to join Dean and his team because they are capable of engineering a broad range of devices and materials that interface well with biological tissue. Here Ive focused on using nanodiamonds for biomedical applications, where weve found success.

Nanodiamonds are very special, said Huang. They are extremely stable, and you can do a lot of chemistry on the surface, to further functionalize them for targeting purposes. In addition to functionality, they also offer safety -- the first priority to consider for clinical purposes. Its very rare to have a nanomaterial that offers both.

Its about optimizing the advantages of a material, said Ho, a member of the Lurie Cancer Center. Our team was the first to forge this area -- applying nanodiamonds to drug delivery. Weve talked to a lot of clinicians and described nanodiamonds and what they can do. I ask, Is that useful to you? They reply, Yes, by all means.

For their study, Ho and his team used living murine macrophage cells, human colorectal carcinoma cells and doxorubicin hydrochloride, a widely used chemotherapy drug. The drug was successfully loaded onto the nanodiamond clusters, which efficiently ferried the drug inside the cells. Once inside, the clusters broke up and slowly released the drug.

In the genetic studies, the researchers exposed cells to the bare nanodiamonds (no drug was present) and analyzed three genes associated with inflammation and one gene for apoptosis, or cell death, to see how the cells reacted to the for
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Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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