Diamonds Prove to be more than Girl’s Best Friend

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Khushal Shah

Leukemia is a dangerous blood cancer that afflicts many individuals. It can strike at any age, but it is most often prevalent in adults. Approximately 40,000 individuals in the U.S. are diagnosed with leukemia every year. This cancer affects the bone marrow in afflicted individuals and causes and excessive production of undeveloped white blood cells, thereby reducing the overall immune system of the individual. Leukemia, like many other cancers, often resists chemical treatments, requiring a bone marrow transplant. These transplants can be tricky due to the high number of factors involved in matching a patient to a donor.

New research has discovered a way to empower chemical treatments to fight this resistive cancer. Normally, the cancer cells have developed mechanisms against the chemicals, pumping the treatment out of the body before it could take effect. However, scientists at UCLA and NUS have used nanodiamond crystals to a significantly more profound effect. The cancerous leukemia cells no longer recognize the medication, and do not extract the medication from the body. Also, the unique binding properties of the diamonds allows for simple attachment between the drug and the crystals.

Previously, the only way to aid the medication was to also pump in a toxic inhibitor, a dangerous and not necessarily effective process. Diamonds, however, do not react with any natural body processes, and the extremely smalls size of these diamonds keeps them from hindering the action of the medication. Furthermore, they are far too small to block any blood vessels, eliminating potential future risks of this treatment.

During the primary trials of this new treatment during both in vivo and in vitro testing, there were very promising results. The use of nanodiamonds has only been tested with leukemia thus far, but its binding properties hold potential to be useful for other medical treatments as well. With further research, a wide host of new treatments may soon be available to help counteract cancers and other diseases that once evaded medications.

For full findings, read ‘Synthesis of nanodiamond-daunorubicin conjugates to overcome multidrug chemoresistance in leukemia’.

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Khushal Shah

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