Nanodiamonds (or detonation nanodiamonds) around four to five nanometers in diameter are a common byproduct of explosions during mining and the subsequent refining. They have limited applications and are available at low cost. Researchers at UCLA, Northwestern University, and the NanoCarbon Research Institute in Japan are now putting these nanodiamonds to work delivering special proteins that promote the growth of teeth, bones, and cartilage.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are already being used in medicine to promote cartilage and bone development, but the standard delivery method is a collagen sponge that’s not practical in a variety of applications, especially dentistry. The team discovered that nanodiamonds attach well to BMPs and fibroblast growth factor and can be delivered to treatment sites using one delivery mechanism.
From a UCLA announcement:
“We’ve conducted several comprehensive studies, in both cells and animal models, looking at the safety of the nanodiamond particles,” said Laura Moore, the first author of the study and an M.D.-Ph.D. student at Northwestern University under the mentorship of Dr. Ho. “Initial studies indicate that they are well tolerated, which further increases their potential in dental and bone repair applications.”
“Nanodiamonds are versatile platforms,” said Dr. Dean Ho, professor of oral biology and medicine, bioengineering and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and the California NanoSystems Institute. “Because they are useful for delivering such a broad range of therapies, nanodiamonds have the potential to impact several other facets of oral, maxillofacial and orthopedic surgery, as well as regenerative medicine.”