A schematic of targeted drug delivery towards breast cancer is shown. Nanodiamonds are encapsulated within liposomes that are functionalized with targeting antibodies. Credit: Dr. Laura Moore (Prof. Dean Ho Group)
A trio of researchers, Dean Ho, with UCLA in the U.S., Chung-Huei Katherine Wang, with BRIM Biotechnology Inc., in Taipei and Edward Kai-Hua Chow with the National University of Singapore, has published a review in Science Advances, of the ways nanodiamonds are being used in cancer research and offer insights into the ways they may be used in the future.
As the research trio note, significant progress has been made over the past several decades in the development of nano-materials for use in treating cancer and other ailments. The central idea is to use very tiny particles to carry tumor fighting drugs to tumors (they are not as easily repelled as the larger varieties) thereby healing the patient. The list includes metallic particles, nanotubes, polymers and even lipids. More recently, scientists have been looking into using nanodiamonds as more is learned about the electrostatic capabilities of their facet surfaces when they carry chemicals in a biological system, the ways their inert core can be useful in certain applications and as a means to capitalize on their tunable surfaces.
The authors note that nanodiamonds used in medical applications fall into two main categories, detonation nanodiamonds (DNDs) and fluorescent nanodiamonds (FNDs) as part of highlighting the major ways that nanodiamonds are currently being used:
Imaging—both DNDs and FNDs, the researchers note are increasingly being eyed as a way to improve magnetic resonance imaging and more recently FNDs are also being seen as a way to track stem cells to learn more about their regenerative potential.
Drug Delivery—a lot of research is currently going on to learn more about which types of drugs adhere well to nanodiamond facets, most specifically those used in chemotherapy applications.
Biodistribution and Toxicity—similarly, a lot of research is being conducted to learn more about the ways nanodiamonds can be placed into a living organism (injection, consumption, though the skin, etc.) and whether there is a danger of toxicity.
The researchers note that another area of study involves using nanodiamonds as part of drug testing—if medications can be carried to specific sites, they note, there might be less side-effects.
Another benefit of using nanodiamonds, they note, is that despite being associated with precious gems, nanodiamonds would be quite cheap to procure and use because they can be obtained from mining waste.
Explore further: Tiny diamonds to boost treatment of chemoresistant leukemia
More information: Nanodiamonds: The intersection of nanotechnology, drug development, and personalized medicine, Science Advances 21 Aug 2015: Vol. 1, no. 7, e1500439. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500439
The implementation of nanomedicine in cellular, preclinical, and clinical studies has led to exciting advances ranging from fundamental to translational, particularly in the field of cancer. Many of the current barriers in cancer treatment are being successfully addressed using nanotechnology-modified compounds. These barriers include drug resistance leading to suboptimal intratumoral retention, poor circulation times resulting in decreased efficacy, and off-target toxicity, among others.
The first clinical nanomedicine advances to overcome these issues were based on monotherapy, where small-molecule and nucleic acid delivery demonstrated substantial improvements over unmodified drug administration. Recent preclinical studies have shown that combination nanotherapies, composed of either multiple classes of nanomaterials or a single nanoplatform functionalized with several therapeutic agents, can image and treat tumors with improved efficacy over single-compound delivery. Among the many promising nanomaterials that are being developed, nanodiamonds have received increasing attention because of the unique chemical-mechanical properties on their faceted surfaces.
More recently, nanodiamond-based drug delivery has been included in the rational and systematic design of optimal therapeutic combinations using an implicitly de-risked drug development platform technology, termed Phenotypic Personalized Medicine–Drug Development (PPM-DD). The application of PPM-DD to rapidly identify globally optimized drug combinations successfully addressed a pervasive challenge confronting all aspects of drug development, both nano and non-nano. This review will examine various nanomaterials and the use of PPM-DD to optimize the efficacy and safety of current and future cancer treatment. How this platform can accelerate combinatorial nanomedicine and the broader pharmaceutical industry toward unprecedented clinical impact will also be discussed.
06 Aug 2015
“The healthcare industry is rapidly moving towards miniaturization of equipment and use of nanotechnology for diagnostics and treatment,” says BCC Research Analyst Vijay Laxmi.
“In keeping with this trend, manufacturers are focusing on producing MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems),” he notes. “Growing demand for minimally invasive surgeries and the presence of high unmet medical needs in emerging Latin American and Asia-Pacific economies are responsible for the growth of the market and also present significant opportunities for the disposable sensors.”
With a growing demand for disposable medical devices that are safe and cost-effective to use, disposable medical sensors have surged in demand, according to BCC Research.
In its new report, BCC Research says that manufacturers, in an attempt to cater to the changing dynamics of the market, are shifting their focus towards developing disposable medical sensors.
The global disposable medical sensors market was valued at $3.8 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.2% to reach an estimated value of $6.8 billion in 2019. Increasing demand for diagnostic and monitoring devices such as cardiac pacemakers and blood glucose monitors are the key drivers of this segment.
Growth drivers include an increasing geriatric population coupled with spreading prevalence of target diseases pertaining to cardiovascular, audiology, and urology systems. Rising usage rates of insulin and infusion pumps due to pervasive levels of diabetes is predicted to further boost market growth.
Meanwhile, the nanocoatings market growth is likely to provide intriguing application possibilities in healthcare. Globally, the nanocoatings market is forecast to grow at at a 24.7% CAGR, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research (TMR).
TMR estimates that the global nanocoatings market will be worth US$6.75 billion by 2019. TMR reports that the global nanocoatings market was US$1.45 billion in 2012. The 24.7% CAGR growth between 2013 and 2019, says the report, will come from coatings used in the automotive and medical and pharmaceutical industries.
TMR analysts say anti-microbial nanocoatings registered the highest demand and accounted for 29.6% of global demand in 2012. This product type finds extensive application in the healthcare, food production, and water treatment sectors.
However, the fastest growth will be exhibited by anti-fingerprint nanocoatings, where the electronics, automotive, packaging, and healthcare sectors will make the largest contribution to demand.
In 2012, medical and healthcare sector accounted for the highest demand for nanocoatings, which represented 14% of that year’s global demand. TMR suggests that several types of medical equipment and implants are accented with nanocoatings. TMR anticipates that the use of nanocoatings in the healthcare sector is likely to continue in the coming years, driving the nanocoatings market significantly.
30 Apr 2015
The group works with the precious metal to create nanoscale silver clusters with unique fluorescent properties. These properties are important for a variety of sensing applications including biomedical imaging.
The team’s latest research is published in a featured article in this month’s issue of ACS Nano, a journal of the American Chemical Society. The scientists positioned silver clusters at programmed sites on a nanoscale breadboard, a construction base for prototyping of photonics and electronics. “Our ‘breadboard’ is a DNA nanotube with spaces programmed 7 nanometers apart,” said lead author Stacy Copp, a graduate student in UCSB’s Department of Physics.
“Due to the strong interactions between DNA and metal atoms, it’s quite challenging to design DNA breadboards that keep their desired structure when these new interactions are introduced,” said Gwinn, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Physics. “Stacy’s work has shown that not only can the breadboard keep its shape when silver clusters are present, it can also position arrays of many hundreds of clusters containing identical numbers of silver atoms — a remarkable degree of control that is promising for realizing new types of nanoscale photonics.”
The results of this novel form of DNA nanotechnology address the difficulty of achieving uniform particle sizes and shapes. “In order to make photonic arrays using a self-assembly process, you have to be able to program the positions of the clusters you are putting on the array,” Copp explained. “This paper is the first demonstration of this for silver clusters.”
The colors of the clusters are largely determined by the DNA sequence that wraps around them and controls their size. To create a positionable silver cluster with DNA-programmed color, the researchers engineered a piece of DNA with two parts: one that wraps around the cluster and the other that attaches to the DNA nanotube. “Sticking out of the nanotube are short DNA strands that act as docking stations for the silver clusters’ host strands,” Copp explained.
The research group’s team of graduate and undergraduate researchers is able to tune the silver clusters to fluoresce in a wide range of colors, from blue-green all the way to the infrared — an important achievement because tissues have windows of high transparency in the infrared. According to Copp, biologists are always looking for better dye molecules or other infrared-emitting objects to use for imaging through a tissue.
“People are already using similar silver cluster technologies to sense mercury ions, small pieces of DNA that are important for human diseases, and a number of other biochemical molecules,” Copp said. “But there’s a lot more you can learn by putting the silver clusters on a breadboard instead of doing experiments in a test tube. You get more information if you can see an array of different molecules all at the same time.”
The modular design presented in this research means that its step-by-step process can be easily generalized to silver clusters of different sizes and to many types of DNA scaffolds. The paper walks readers through the process of creating the DNA that stabilizes silver clusters. This newly outlined protocol offers investigators a new degree of control and flexibility in the rapidly expanding field of nanophotonics.
The overarching theme of Copp’s research is to understand how DNA controls the size and shape of the silver clusters themselves and then figure out how to use the fact that these silver clusters are stabilized by DNA in order to build nanoscale arrays.
“It’s challenging because we don’t really understand the interactions between silver and DNA just by itself,” Copp said. “So part of what I’ve been doing is using big datasets to create a bank of working sequences that we’ve published so other scientists can use them. We want to give researchers tools to design these types of structures intelligently instead of just having to guess.”
The paper’s acknowledgements include a dedication to “those students who lost their lives in the Isla Vista tragedy and to the courage of the first responders, whose selfless actions saved many lives.”
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Genesis Nano Technology is actively seeking and evaluating emerging nanotechnology opportunities for Joint Venture Partners and Strategic Alliances that will create ‘enterprise value’ by: identifying, developing, integrating and then commercializing, nanotechnologies that demonstrate significant new disruptive capabilities, enhance new or existing product performance and/or beneficially impact input cost reductions & efficiencies and therefore will achieve a sustainable and competitive advantage in their chosen market sector. “We are the ‘D’ in R & D.”
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