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News / October 3, 2013

Diamonds are forever

by Guy Hiscott

Diamonds could be a dentist’s best friend in light of a glittering new application for the precious gems unearthed by US researchers.
A team from the UCLA School of Dentistry has discovered that nanodiamonds – tiny diamonds formed as byproducts of conventional mining and refining – could promote bone growth and improve the durability of dental implants.
The gems bind rapidly to both bone morphogenic protein and fibroblast growth factor but release them slowly, allowing affected areas to be treated over longer period of time. Furthermore, the protein-treated nanodiamonds can also be administered through injections or oral rinses.
Together, these properties could spell out a less invasive and longer-term approach to improving bone growth and combatting osteonecrosis than current methods.
The findings appear in the Journal of Dental Research.
Laura Moore, the first author of the study under the mentorship of study lead Dr Dean Ho, said: ‘We’ve conducted several comprehensive studies, in both cells and animal models, looking at the safety of the nanodiamond particles.
‘Initial studies indicate that they are well tolerated, which further increases their potential in dental and bone repair applications.’
The nanodiamonds are approximately 4-5 nanometers in diameter and shaped ‘like tiny footballs’.