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Scientists Discover How to Detect Precancerous Conditions using Nanodiamonds


Scientists at the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (NRNU MEPhI) studied the optical properties of detonation nanodiamonds as they interact with biomacromolecules (biopolymer molecules).The study will help to create original biosensors with improved optical properties. The results of the study are published in the Laser Physics Letters magazine.


Detonation nanodiamonds (DNDs) are carbon nanostructures with a crystal lattice, similar to that of a diamond, that originate from detonation synthesis using explosives. In recent years, scientists have been actively exploring DNDs’ interaction with biological structures and biomacromolecules. The findings are used in treating tumors, as well as in developing biosensors and biocompatible implants.

When interacting with DNDs, biomacromolecules significantly change their properties, which is crucial for biomedical research.  When a new, physiologically active substance is created, the relation between the structure of that substance and its fluorescent properties is critical.

Today, the scope of biosensorics is rapidly expanding. Nanocarriers are actively used in biomedical research; they can be used for drug delivery, while their semiconductor and piezoelectric properties make them useful in photovoltaics.   Furthermore, biosensorics may be used in creating electronic devices and biosensors.

At NRNU MEPhI, scientists have examined the interaction of nanodiamonds and several types of molecules that are essential in medical research.  They studied porphyrin, myoglobin, tryptophan and DNA interaction with nanodiamonds (5 nanometers in size) in thin membranes, that were obtained by spraying a single plate onto a surface of a monocrystalline silicon, - explained Ekaterina Boruleva, a researcher at MEPhI’s Department of Laser Micro-Nano and Biotechnology.

“The results of these studies have demonstrated that nanodiamonds increase the fluorescence intensity. It happens because the nanosonone hydrosols (aqueous solutions) used in the study not only reflect the incident light but also scatter it, which leads to additional flare inside the membrane and, therefore, increases the fluorescence,” Boruleva told.

The researchers concluded that the obtained results illustrated how nanodiamonds, which are not naturally fluorescent, increase the signal of the fluorescent biomacromolecule components.

The experimental research was conducted using the methods of absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, and atomic force microscopy.

In the near future, scientists are planning to manufacture a prototype biosensor based on albumin nanoparticles in order to deliver medicine inside a body. Moreover, future plans also include the development of biosensor application technologies and the creation of a prototype biosensor, based on detonation nanodiamonds for the purpose of registering early cancerous and precancerous conditions.


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