What's the buzz

What's the buzz

Diamonds may fight hard-to-treat cancers

Diamonds are considered women’s best friend, but it could soon become a cancer patient’s best friend too.

Researchers from the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, have discovered that attaching chemotherapy drugs to tiny carbon particles called nanodiamonds could offer an effective drug delivery solution for hard-to-treat cancers.

The research shows promise because anticancer drug resistance often causes 90 per cent of treatment failure in malignant cancer.

Nanodiamonds are carbon-based particles between 2 and 8 nanometers in diameter, with a truncated octahedral structure. They are non-toxic and do not cause inflammation. They are also cheap to produce in large quantities.

Lead researcher Dean Ho and his colleagues tested the technique in mouse models with liver and breast cancers by attaching anti-cancer drug doxorubicin to nanodiamonds.

They treated one group with the doxorubicin-nanodiamond complexes and another group with the drug alone.

They found that doxorubicin levels were 10 times higher in mice treated with the nanodiamond compound compared with mice given doxorubicin alone, and remained high for seven days.

They found that nanodiamond-doxirubicin significantly reduced the size of tumours in mice and increased the survival rates.

They also found that it reduced the toxicity of the drug by releasing it more slowly.

Low birth weight children programmed to eat more

A new study has revealed that low birth weight children are ‘programmed’ to eat more because they develop less neurons in the region of the brain that controls food intake.

The study by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbour-UCLA Medical Centre (LA BioMed) suggests that overeating is programmed at the level of stem cells before birth when the mother has poor or inadequate nutrition.

The find is important in that it offers potential opportunities for prevention and treatment for obesity and other related disorders.

“This study demonstrates the importance of maternal nutrition and health in reducing obesity,” said Dr Mina Desai.

“Obesity and its related diseases are the leading cause of death in our society, yet we have few effective strategies for prevention or treatment. These studies suggest maternal nutrition could play a critical role in preventing obesity and related disease.”

The findings of altered brain development suggest that foetal growth restriction may be associated with cognitive and/or behavioural alterations.