Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanodiamonds: A cancer patient's best friend?

October 23, 2013
Real-time monitoring of cancer cell processes could soon be possible thanks to nanometric scale diamonds used as biosensors.

Real-time monitoring of cancer cell processes could soon be possible thanks to nanometric scale diamonds used as biosensors.

Diamonds are sometimes considered as a girl's best friend. Now, this expression is about to have a new meaning. Indeed, nanometric scale diamond particles could offer a new way to detect cancer far earlier than previously thought. This is precisely the objective of a research project called Dinamo, funded by the EU. Specifically, it aims to develop a non-invasive nanotechnology sensing platform for real-time monitoring of biomolecular processes in living cancer cells.

To do so, they developed a new technique, based on the use of fluorescent nanodiamond particles (NDPs). "We demonstrated that the specific combination of NDP-properties make them a highly suitable material for the construction of probes capable of sensing biomolecules ranging from proteins to DNA," says team coordinator Milos Nesladek, who is also principle scientist at the Institute for Material Research, Imec, based in Leuven, Belgium, "such probes could be used to study molecular processes in cells at nanoscale."

The trouble is that previous solutions did not allow monitoring processes within living cells for any extended period of time. "Our key challenge was to replace fluorescent bimolecular dyes that are currently used as luminescence markers in cancer cell research," explains Nesladek.

NDPs present several advantages. They are highly biocompatible. They can remain for prolonged periods inside cells without influencing any cellular mechanisms. Furthermore, they can be engineered to obtain a range of optic, magnetic and surface properties. "The small size of NDPs enables them to penetrate individual cell membranes in a non-invasive way, which causes no damage to the cell and without any disruption of normal cellular functions," Nesladek tells CommNet. "The luminescence and the magnetic properties change depending on the NDP's interaction with the cellular environment," he adds.

The surface properties of NDPs are such that it is possible to attach specific biomolecules to them, such as primary DNA molecules. Delivered precisely to the target cell, these biomolecules can measure, monitor or alter biological components within the cell. The NDPs can thus become not only a tool to monitor and detect pre-cancerous changes, but also to rectify them. Further developments are going on in subsequent EU-projects such as DIAMANT.

Some experts welcome this approach. "Development of new drug delivery carriers is crucial for treatment of numerous deceases, including cancer," comments Fedor Jelezko, director of the Institute of Quantum Optics at Ulm University in Germany. "The novelty of approach in [the project] is the use of innovative material to transport drugs," he tells CommNet. Nanodiamond provides unique opportunities for drug carrier design since they can be imaged optically using fluorescence microscopy technique. "This allows monitoring of drug delivery and release of drugs in the cells with unprecedented details," he adds. This monitoring has already been demonstrated by teams of the Ecole Normale Supιrieure (ENS) in Cachan and Gustave Roussy Cancer Institute in Paris, France.

Other experts are more cautious. "Although there have been numerous convincing experiments showing that nanodiamonds can carry active anti-cancer drugs in culture cells and even in mice, it is very unlikely that it will be ever used in humans, mostly because diamond is so inert that it cannot be degraded and therefore cannot be easily eliminated by the body," comments Franηois Treussart, physics professor at the ENS.

However, he seems a bright future for the technology. "Far beyond the [project] goals, nanodiamond future in medical applications is more as a diagnostic device in personal medicine or as a monitoring tool for example to track stem cell engraftment in regenerative medicine, as recently demonstrated by the biomedical applications of fluorescent ND-team at the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Science, at the Academia Sinica inTaiwan," he concludes.

A NDP-probe, placed in a target cell, should be able to detect and relay information about the processes taking place in this cell. "The Dinamo project has been finished, but the partners still are collaborating," Nesladek tells. "The University of Stuttgart in Germany is developing a NDP-probe. "Dinamo has focused on the context of breast cancer and colorectal cancer, but there is no reason why the technique could not be applied to a wide range of other cancers," he tells CommNet. He concludes that another future aim is to explore the possibility of using NDP probes to detect cancer stem cells.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by youris.com. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

youris.com. "Nanodiamonds: A cancer patient's best friend?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023101054.htm>.
youris.com. (2013, October 23). Nanodiamonds: A cancer patient's best friend?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023101054.htm
youris.com. "Nanodiamonds: A cancer patient's best friend?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131023101054.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This

More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News


      Free Subscriptions

      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile

      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?

      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins