Academic journal

Nanodiamonds small enough to deliver drugs through the skin

The skin is one of the largest and most accessible organs in the human body, but penetrating its deep layers for medicinal and cosmetic treatments has proven difficult.

Researchers at Bar-Ilan University (BIU) in Israel are addressing this challenge with nanoscale diamond particles small enough to deliver such remedies safely through the epidermis, dermis and fat layers of the skin.

They also created a non-invasive laser-optical method that quantifies the penetration of nanodiamonds and determines their location and concentration in body tissues, eliminating the need for a biopsy.

“This is a significant development in dermatology and optical engineering,” said Professor Dror Fixler, director of BIU’s Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials and a member of the research team.
“This could open the door to the development of drugs applied through the skin alongside modern cosmetic preparations using advanced nanotechnology.”

Fixler’s research, assisted by researcher Channa Shapira and others, was published in the scientific journal ACS Nano.

Nanodiamonds – one millionth of a millimeter in size – are produced by detonating explosives inside an enclosed chamber. Under these conditions, high temperature and pressure cause the carbon atoms present in the explosives to fuse. The nanodiamonds created in the process are small enough to penetrate tissue — and even cells — without causing harm.

Members of BIU’s Kofkin Engineering Faculty and Department of Chemistry participated in the project.