How Nanodiamonds Can Boost Cancer Drugs
New research shows the particles make drugs more effective
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2011 1:07 PM CST
Chemotherapy could become more effective if nanodiamonds are used.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Cancer treatment could get a boost thanks to nanodiamonds, small carbon-based particles whose shape is similar to diamonds. Chemotherapy drugs often become ineffective, because cancer cells spit them out of cells too quickly. But by attaching anticancer drugs to nanodiamonds, the cancer cells are thwarted because they're unable to pump out the nanodiamonds. Extra bonus: Nanodiamonds are non-toxic, cheap, and don’t cause inflammation, Nature reports.

The surface of a nanodiamond, octahedral and multi-faceted like a diamond’s, is also special in that it contains different properties. A drug can be attached to a neutral surface of the nanodiamond, while another surface with an electrostatic charge allows the fluids to be dispersed. Another nice side effect: Nanodiamonds release the drugs more slowly, reducing their toxicity. In a study, mice with liver tumors were treated with a drug—either attached to a nanodiamond or alone—and those who were treated with the nanodiamond compound had 10 times more of the drug still in their system two days later.