Diamonds are known for many things, most notably of course as a sign of love and devotion between newly engaged couples, but the ever-evolving nature of science and technology has actually discovered a rather unexpected use for nanodiamonds in detecting early stage cancers!
What Are Nanodiamonds?
These tiny particles are formed during the process of diamond refining and mining. Despite being thousands of times smaller than one human hair, hence the term “nano”, they are quickly unveiling themselves to be quite a miracle to modern medicine because they are nontoxic, nonreactive, and can carry a host of different drug compounds with them for targeted drug delivery that previously has been difficult or impossible.
Scientists have already uncovered incredible uses for nanodiamonds in preventing tooth loss after a root canal since they can carry antibiotics to the surgery site and eliminate the possibility of further decay. The nanodiamond’s properties and affordability make it the upcoming hotshot of the medical world.
How Can Nanodiamonds Help Detect Cancer?
Just as an engagement diamond glints in the sun, nanodiamonds can be hyperpolarized to “light up” in an MRI in order to identify the cancer. But how? The trick involves turning a pharmaceutical problem into a physics problem, as Professor David Reilly from the University of Sydney explained. Since nanodiamonds have magnetic characteristics that turn them into beaconos during an MRI, the nanodiamonds can be hyperpolarized and then attached to molecules targeting the cancer to move with them and ultimately arrive at the cancer cells.
This process can allow doctors and internists to image and target cancers before they ever become life-threatening, especially in difficult to track cancers like brain and pancreatic cancer. Anything that can even potentially identify cancer early on will save millions of lives in time. Patients can receive effective treatment much sooner, saving everybody involved valuable time, money, and peace of mind.