Applications of Nanadiamonds Toward Medicine

Nanodiamonds, a revolutionary class of nanomaterials, are 2 nanometers in diameter in single-particle form, and can be manipulated to form clusters with diameters in the 50-100nm range. This makes them ideal for drug delivery by shielding and slow releasing drugs trapped within the cluster of Diamond aggregates. Members of the
N-BASE team: Dr. Houjin Huang, Dr. Erik Pierstorff, and Professor Dean Ho, in collaboration with Dr. Eiji Osawa of the NanoCarbon Research Institute in Nagano, Japan, have recently applied nanodiamonds toward the highly efficient delivery of cancer drugs. Using a potent chemotherapeutic as a model, they were able to fabricate aggregates, or clusters of diamonds that were capable of trapping, and slow-releasing the drugs. In addition, they have demonstrated the capability of trapping nearly 5 times the amount of drug via the nanodiamonds compared to conventional drug delivery methods that will significantly impact efficient chemotherapy capabilities. Other advantages of the nanodiamonds include the fact that they are very easily dissolved in water for rapid translation to clinical applications, which is virtually unrealized by many of the current therapeutic nanomaterials. The rapid or uncontrollable release of cancer drugs often leads to patient complications, or even patient mortality because the drugs display a ‘generalized' or ‘systemic' form of activity by killing both the cancerous and healthy cells. As such, the engineered trapping/slow-release function of the nanodiamonds will play a significant role in improving treatment efficiency by limiting the uncontrolled exposure of the drug to the body by both shielding the drug within the nanodiamond clusters while also gradually releasing the drug towards the cells. Furthermore, the biocompatible diamonds were capable of rapidly crossing cell membranes to further reduce non-specific cellular exposure and enhance therapeutic efficacy. These integrated nanodiamond systems were also capable of empowering potent chemotherapy across multiple cell lines that were tested, including human colon cancer cells.

Nanodiamond Internalization
Nano Letters, 2007
  Nanodiamond Solutions for Cancer Therapy


Departments of Biomedical
and Mechanical Engineering

Technological Institute
2145 Sheridan Road, D155
Evanston, IL 60208