Delivery of Cancer Drugs Through Nanodiamonds Kills Cells More Efficiently

Delivery system kills chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells and prevents secondary tumor formation.

Delivery system kills chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells and prevents secondary tumor formation.

Attaching a chemotherapy drug to nanodiamonds was found to effectively kill chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells in a recent study.

Published online in ACS Nano, the study examined the use of nanotechnology in repurposing current chemotherapy drugs that are unable to overcome chemoresistance. Cancer stem cells have been found to be more chemoresistant than the rest of the bulk tumor, which can lead to the recurrence of the disease after chemotherapy.

For the study, Epirubicin was attached to nanodiamonds, which are carbon structures with a diameter of about 5 nanometers. This process created a nanodiamond-Epirubicin drug delivery complex (EPND).

During the study, both the standard Epirubicin and the EPND were found to be able to kill normal cancer cells, however only EPND was able to kill chemoresistant cancer stem cells. Additionally, the experimental treatment also stopped the formation of secondary tumors in xenograft models of liver cancer.

The delivery of existing chemotherapy drugs with nanomaterials was found to offer provide a broader range of protection in a package that is both safer and more effective.

The study found that using nanodiamonds to deliver Epirubicin caused what would normally be a lethal dose of Epirubicin to become a safe and effective dosage. This result indicated that using nanodiamonds to deliver chemotherapy drugs can enhance the ability of the drug to kill chemoresistant cancer stem cells.

In addition, the treatment may also offer an alternative therapy for patients who can’t tolerate the toxic side effects that come with standard chemotherapy drugs.

The versatility of the nanodiamond-based drug delivery platform suggests other applications for the system with similar drugs or for active targeting components, including antibodies or peptides that act against tumor cell surface proteins.

This system may also provide a treatment option for more than just liver cancer, with the potential to treat a broad range of difficult cancers driven by chemoresistant cancer stem cells.

The researchers are now completing preclinical work on the delivery of anthracycline using nanodiamonds with hopes of starting clinical trials in the immediate future.