Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. A diamond gift never goes wrong for any occasion. You can give your loved one diamond earrings, a tennis bracelet, or any other diamond cut. Recently, diamonds do not only serve as gifts or jewelry but as life savers as well.
Diamond is in consideration for use in several medical applications. This is due to the unique chemical, optical, and biological properties they contain. For example, oncologists are developing ways to cure tumors and cancers using man-made or lab-grown diamonds.
But what are they and what importance do they pose in healthcare? Let’s find out.
Diamonds in the Health Sector
Many years ago, there was a belief that diamonds could cure everything because of their healthy properties. This includes physical and mental distress.
As stated earlier, diamonds are now used to cure certain medical conditions. The type of diamonds that are useful for medical conditions is nanodiamonds.
The term “nanodiamonds” refers to diamonds that are smaller than a micrometer. They are diamond particles that are so tiny they can barely be seen by the naked eye, hence, the prefix “nano”.
Doctors are now researching ways of using diamonds to locate cancer cells. Nanodiamonds can now pass through the walls of the intestines. This is done by applying a thin coat of Iron chemicals to the intestines.
Nanodiamonds get through the intestines and attach themselves to specific types of cells. This depends on the coating used. When they attach themselves to these cells, doctors can differentiate them. For example, they can differentiate cancer cells, white blood cells, or tissues.
This was tested by running a special yellow light over a worm’s body. The diamonds absorb the light and emit a purple light. This light allows scientists to see where the nanodiamonds have collected.
Diamonds are now in use for chemotherapy treatments. Researchers have developed a chemo patch that has a tiny diamond dust coat.
You place the patch over the tumor first. Later, the diamonds release the chemotherapy drugs into the tumor. This new patch may reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatment. This research will likely lead to the use of diamonds in advanced medical imaging as well.
Diamonds are also making way for improved x-ray technology. New x-ray lasers can now rely on flawless diamonds. They can create a concentrated, high-powered laser. This would allow doctors and scientists to see smaller objects than they can now.
Nanodiamonds are also useful in microscopes. Doctors use them to analyze human cells. Nanodiamonds offer more accuracy than using standard medical equipment.
The diamonds provide more magnifying power than regular glass alone. This allows scientists to study each molecule.
Lab Grown Diamonds
Due to technological advancements, it is now possible to grow diamonds. Scientists call these diamonds lab created or artificial diamonds among other names. Advanced technological processes used in producing lab created diamonds involve duplicating the natural or environmental conditions under which mined diamonds develop.
Lab created diamonds have the same optical and chemical properties as natural diamonds making them 100% real. This is because they have carbon atoms. These atoms have a regular diamond crystal structure.
They may exhibit a few different elements from natural diamonds. However, these differences neither affect the appearance nor the authenticity of lab created diamonds in any way. In fact, their difference can only be seen using specialized equipment but never just with the naked eye. Another piece that can’t be seen with the naked eyes is the aforementioned nanodiamond.
The unique properties of the carbonaceous nanoparticles in nanodiamonds make them useful in a variety of applications. One such application is in chemotherapy, where nanodiamonds can be used to deliver drugs directly to cancer cells.
This is achieved by attaching the drugs to the surface of the nanodiamonds, which are then taken up by the cancer cells. Once inside the cells, the drugs are released and can begin to kill the cancer cells. Nanodiamonds have also been used in optical and electrical devices, as well as in sensors and biomedical implants.
Perhaps most importantly, nanodiamonds can be produced through different methods, including high-pressure high-temperature synthesis, detonation of explosives, or chemical vapor deposition. As research into their properties continues, not only will their lab growth be easier, it is likely that nanodiamonds will find even more uses in the future.
Why Nanotechnology is A Great Cancer Treatment Option
1. It Detects Hidden Details
Nanodiamond molecules smaller than 50 nanometers can enter most cells while those smaller than 20 nanometers can move out of blood vessels. This happens as they circulate through the body.
Because of their size, nanoparticles can make contact with biomolecules. This can be either on the surface or inside cells. When they access different areas of the body, they can detect diseases. They can also deposit treatment to the cells or tissues that need healing.
2. Passive Tumor Targeting
Effective cancer drug delivery should be able to achieve high accumulation in tumors. This should happen without affecting the healthy tissues around them. This is passive targeting. Passive targeting works well with the Enhanced Permeability and Retention [EPR] effect.
Through the EPR effect, 8-100 nm nanoparticles can target tumors. This happens when the nanoparticles pass through large pores and achieve higher accumulation.
EPR effect helps to ensure high drug accumulation, thereby improving treatment efficacy.
3. Active Tumor Targeting
Active targeting involves specific molecules, such as transferrin and folate. The nanoparticles with specific functions need to be in the tumor’s proximity.
This helps to increase affinity. Active targeting enhances drug penetration by increasing nanoparticle binding to the cancer cell.
4. No Tissue Barriers
There are biological barriers or cell formations in the body. These barriers can restrict the movement of nanoparticles. They can also affect the transport of nanodiamonds into the tumor.
Examples of such barriers are interstitial fluid pressure and an acidic environment. Nanoparticles are being designed to pass through such barriers into intact tumors.
5. Minimal Side Effects
If you are wondering if diamonds are safe, well, the answer is yes. This is because diamonds are non-toxic. In addition, unlike chemotherapy treatment, this does not use lasers for treatments.
Using nanoparticles involves passive tumor targeting. This helps to protect the surrounding tissues from danger. As a result, these methods make cancer treatments safer than they have been in years.
Types of Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment
There are three major nanoparticles used in delivering drugs to the tumor. They are organic NPs, inorganic NPs, and hybrid NPs.
● Organic Nanoparticles
Organic nanoparticles are those that are present in nature. They work as drug deposits for anticancer drugs. Examples include protein aggregates, lipid bodies, viruses, etc.
● Inorganic Nanoparticles
Inorganic nanoparticles are useful in modern technologies. This is because their synthesizing and mass production is not difficult to achieve.
These nanoparticles have unique electro, chemical, and magnetic properties. These properties make inorganic particles efficient for imaging and diagnosis.
Examples of inorganic nanoparticles include gold particles, metal oxide, and mesoporous silica.
● Hybrid Nanoparticles
This type of nanoparticle is a combination of organic and inorganic particles. A combination of metal oxide, graphene, and carbon nanotubes produces hybrid nanoparticles.
Diamonds have gone beyond studs, bracelets, and wedding bands. In some years, the impact of nanodiamonds will be more evident as medical advances occur. However, scientists are still researching the potential uses of diamonds in the medical field.
We hope that the research will soon conclude. This will offer cancer patients more access to these better treatment options.