New Tool, New Treatment Discoveries for Wound Healing

Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered both a new tool for treating wounds and a new method for delivering the treatment.

Researchers at


Northwestern University


both a new tool for treating wounds and a new method for delivering the treatment


assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering at the

Lead researcher Dean Ho,

McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

at Northwestern, and his team of researchers have discovered that insulin, when applied to the wound site, speeds wound healing, restores blood flow to the wound, suppresses inflammation, and fights infection. Binding the insulin to small, carbon-based nanodimaonds allowed the team to infuse the “curative” hormone at a specific location.

an exciting strategy towards enhancing the specificity of wound treatment.”

According to the researchers, a “substantial” amount of insulin can be put into the nanodiamonds. Ho called the “on demand” ability to release therapeutics “

n the research that the team did in regard to cancer therapies, they discovered that “nanodiamonds are capable of releasing the chemotherapy agent Doxorubicin in a sustained and consistent manner.” In addition, Ho’s group was able to develop devices that “harness the slow drug-release capabilities of the nanodiamonds” and also show that the “nanodiamonds are effective in dispersing insoluble drugs in water.”


During the study, the researchers found that insulin bound very tightly to the nanodiamounds “when in an aqueous solution near the normal physiological pH level.” Tests of insulin function revealed that the hormone was “virtually inactive when bound to the nanodiamonds,” which the researchers stated was crucial for preventing excess or unnecessary release of the insulin. When the team increased the pH level to that is often “observed in the skin during severe burns,” the insulin was released, where it stayed functional. In addition, the insulin was “slowly and consistently released” from the nanodiamonds over several days.

The researchers said that they “have demonstrated that the nanodiamonds serve as platforms that can successfully bind, deliver and release several classes of therapeutics, which could impact a broad range of medical needs.”


of the study were

in the July 26th online edition of the journal




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