PhysOrg has the brilliant news about using itty bitty flecks of precious stones to boost the power of medication to treat exceptionally stubborn cases of leukemia:
Daunorubicin is currently one of the most common drugs used to treat leukemia. The drug works by slowing down or stopping cancer cells from growing, causing many of them to die. It is also common, however, for leukemia to become resistant to this drug after treatment.
One mechanism by which this opposition, commonly known as chemoresistance, happens is through the expression of drug transporter pumps in leukemia cells that actively pump out chemotherapeutics, including Daunorubicin.
The team of scientists from NUS and UCLA turned to nanodiamonds, which are tiny, carbon-based particles that are 2 to 8 nanometers in diameter, as an option to address chemoresistance. Dr Chow studied the biological basis of how nanodiamonds can potentially overcome chemoresistance.
The scientists bound the surfaces of nanodiamonds with Daunorubicin, and the hybrid nanodiamond-drug complexes were introduced to leukemic cells. The research team found that nanodiamonds could carry the drug to the cancer cells without being pumped out. Due to their non-invasive sizes and unique surface features, nanodiamonds can be easily released without blocking up blood vessels.
Tiny bits of carbon can do some pretty wild stuff.