Delivered on a Diamond

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Science  11 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6022, pp. 1243
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6022.1243-d

Doxorubicin (Dox) is a powerful, broad-use anticancer drug, but its effectiveness is limited by toxic damage to healthy tissues and the development of drug resistance by the cancerous cells. One form of resistance arises through an increase in transporter proteins that will pump drugs out of a cell. Chow et al. explore the potential for small diamond particles, on the order of 2 to 8 nm in diameter, to increase the effectiveness of doxorubicin. The facets on the truncated octahedral architecture provide a large number of surfaces for drug conjugation, and charges on the surface enable water to bind, aiding dispersability and sustained therapeutic release. In comparison with unbound Dox at equal doses, conjugates of diamond-Dox showed slower in vivo clearance, lower toxicity, and a slower but more prolonged uptake of Dox by the cancerous cells, leading to greater apoptosis for mouse models of liver and mammary cancers. Of particular note was that the mammary tumor cells were known to show Dox resistance. The production of the diamond particles can be scaled up. They have furthermore shown wide biocompatibility, and they can be chemically modified for conjugation to a wide range of therapeutics, indicating that they could form a broad-based platform for the treatment of a range of conditions in which drug retention and delivery are limiting factors.

Sci. Transl. Med. 3, 73ra21 (2011).

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