Diamonds used to detect cancer

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but soon they could be a cancer researcher’s best friend, too. One key problem in cancer screening is trying to detect breakaway tumor cells before they spread, causing the cancer to metastasize throughout the body. That’s where a new biotech company called Bikanta comes in: the team has started to use fluorescent nanodiamonds (dust of crushed, imperfect diamonds) to help find out those tiny, troublesome proto-tumors before they get a chance to spread.

You may be surprised to learn that those nanodiamonds are very effective at lighting up your insides…  specifically the tiny molecular imperfections that could signal shifting cancer cells. Bikanta CEO Ambika Bumb told TechCrunch that one of the biggest draws of the diamond approach is that those little bits of carbon don’t degrade over time, so researchers are left with clearer imaging results with less background noise. Turns out, nanodiamonds aren’t one trick ponies either. Bikanta’s tech can be used to look out for more than just cancer, and if you peer far enough into the future, you might see nanodiamonds being used as a component for smart drugs that can target and treat the very same abnormalities they find.

Author: Shawn

Indiana University Alumni GIA Graduate Gemologist Student

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