It's no wonder that diamonds are among the world's most prized objects. From the drill bits used by the world's biggest miners to the fashion catwalks of Milan, diamonds have long existed to compliment mankind in all our endeavours. Now it looks like diamonds might just be onto another winner - as a new form of modern medicine treatment.
According to research carried out by a North Western University team in the US, nanodiamonds were found to have a very important medical use when they loaded with insulin and placed around open wounds.
In December 2006, researchers from the University of Riverside California found that insulin could do more than just regular blood sugar levels - it could also promote rapid healing by acting as a growth hormone. In human skin cultures treated in the lab with insulin, the same researchers found that it stimulated human keratinocytes (skin layers) by switching on cellular signalling proteins.
In other words, if you can find an efficient way of getting enough insulin into the wound area, you'll greatly increase the chances of wound regeneration. In this case, nanodiamonds contain large surface areas, which make them the perfect insulin attractors.
According to the research reproted in ScienceDaily, Insulin encourages skin cells to "proliferate and divide, restores blood flow to the wound and suppresses inflammation and fights infection."
North Western University researchers loaded the nanodiamonds with insulin clusters and placed these at the site of the wound. Due to the unique PH nature of the bodies skin, the insulin is rapidly released from the nanodiamonds, thereby promoting healing and speeding up recovery.
Diamonds are the second most stable form of carbon, second only to graphite and can take anywhere from 1 - 3.3 billion years to grow naturally. They are prized for their incredible thermal abilities and for their natural hardness - among the hardest materials known to man.
Nanodiamonds don't just have considerable healing benefits: they've also been hailed as the next big thing in quantum computing.