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 challenging.
Researchers at Bar-Ilan University (BIU) in Israel are meeting that challenge with nanometric diamond particles small enough to deliver such remedies safely through the epidermis, dermis and fat layers of the skin.
They also created a noninvasive laser-based optical method that quantifies nanodiamond penetration and determines their location and concentration within body tissue, eliminating the need for a biopsy.
“This is a significant development in dermatology and in optical engineering,” said Prof. Dror Fixler, director of BIU’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials and a member of the research team.
“It could open the door to developing 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 — a millionth of a millimeter in size — are produced by detonating explosives inside a closed chamber. Under these conditions high temperature and pressure cause the carbon atoms found in explosives to fuse together. The nanodiamonds created in the process are small enough to penetrate tissue – and even cells — without inflicting harm.
Members of BIU’s Kofkin Faculty of Engineering and Department of Chemistry participated in the project.