Tag Archives: nanodiamonds

Glaucoma More Bearable with Nanodiamond Contact Lenses

Scientists have long suspected the usefulness of nanodiamonds as mechanisms for targeted medication delivery due to their microscopic, safe nature—thanks to their carbon makeup—along with their unique tendency for fluorescence. UCLA School of Dentistry researchers from the Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology have incorporated timolol maleate—a common eyedrop to help manage glaucoma—with nanodiamond contact lenses to regulate drug delivery to eyes and reduce side effects associated with eyedrops.

Glaucoma is characterized by increased intraocular pressure that builds up due to blockage or damage of mesh network that drains fluid in the eye. Fluid accumulation can damage the optic nerve over time, if unrelieved, and can cause blindness within a few years, if untreated. Timolol maleate eyedrops are a type of beta-blocker that reduces intraocular pressure by decreasing the amount of fluid secreted into the eye and constricts blood vessels around eyes so that less fluid is filtered into the eye.

In most cases, only about 5 percent of timolol actually reaches the intended site. In other cases, too much medication is absorbed incurring systemic involvement that causes side effects with respiratory and/or cardiac implications, including arrhythmia. To ensure steady medication release over time, the UCLA researchers have integrated timolol maleate with nanodiamonds then affixed them to contact lenses. Drug delivery is triggered by lysozyme—enzyme found in tears—so that timolol is released steadily over a period of time and not released at all when the nanodiamond contact lenses are not in use.

Added benefits include longer durability of the lenses, compared to their regular counterparts on the market, due to the crystalline carbon structure of the nanodiamonds, without affecting optical clarity, lens permeability to oxygen, and water content, so that wearer comfort is maintained.

Nanodiamond contact lenses are one example of increasing incorporation of nanotechnology into medicine, with tremendous potential for optimal glaucoma management—an important protective step for a disease with no current cure.

Silk-Encased Fluorescent Nanodiamonds May Hold Key to Precise Medication Delivery

Scientists from Australia and the United States have discovered a new method to safely view the internal workings of a cell and potentially target a region in the body for precise medication delivery by using silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds.

Diamonds are solid substances that are comprised of geometrically organized carbons—the basic atoms of life—and thus stable and harmless. The tiny diamonds can be inserted into living cells and, based on the “flaw” in the gem, absorb light and then emit that light in different wavelengths depending on the material in the nanodiamond—a process called fluorescence.

Silk was incorporated as a coating because the edges around the gem are rough and can get snared in the cell membrane. Lipids, organic molecules found in fats and the basis of cell membrane structure, were originally used to counteract the rough edges, but silk was the better choice due to its transparent, flexible, harmless, and biodegradable nature.

When tested on living tissue, the team of researchers found the “glow” from the silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds were 2-4 times brighter because of the silk material and was found to be nontoxic and non-inflammatory, after it left no damage in its wake in the body even after it remained implanted for two weeks.

Silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds can equip physicians and researchers with a new approach to viewing cellular activity as it reacts to a new drug. They may also carry medications, such as antibiotics, to a targeted region of the body by having the silk-diamond amalgam directly implanted into the infected area and decrease overall body toxicity levels. The silk, in addition, can be arranged to deteriorate at a predetermined rate for timed-release medication delivery.

Because of their “glowing” nature, silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds are lighting the way in the fields of bioimaging, biosensing, and drug delivery mechanisms, and the team hopes to incorporate their findings in medical practice soon.