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Diamonds: The Latest in Treating Infections

Chicago, Illinois – Northwestern University scientist Dean Ho recently discovered that using nanoscale diamonds can help heal wounds much faster. Dr. Ho and his team found that diamonds tend to attract insulin, best known for helping to regulate blood sugar. Insulin has also been found to speed up the healing process and prevent infections from growing at wound sites.

In wound healing, insulin prompts skin cells to grow and divide, facilitates blood flow to the wound, acts as an anti-inflammatory, and fights infection. Dr. Ho’s group found that these tiny diamonds offer ideal surfaces to carry insulin to injury sites. The surfaces bind quickly with different molecules, including proteins and antibodies. They also have a large enough surface area that large amounts of medicine can be loaded onto them. Because of the nature of the diamond’s surfaces, insoluble drugs will stick to them even when suspended in water.

Not only has it been found that nanodiamonds are an easy way to get insulin to a wound site, but also that the only thing that will get the insulin to release from the diamonds’ surfaces is the presence of a base pH level, which naturally occurs in wounds and infected body tissues. A normal pH level of 7.4 wouldn’t cause any release of medicine from the nanodiamonds. But, at the site of a cut with infection, a pH level can rise as high as 10.5, causing the insulin to detach from the nanodiamonds and go to work on repairing the wound.

These tiny diamonds do not cause any significant cell damage, and the insulin releases slowly and steadily enough not to upset other body functions. This new discovery could begin an entirely new therapy for wound care. They are currently working on integrating the nanodiamond solution into curative gels or creams, and will begin pre-clinical trials soon.

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