Researchers at Bar-Ilan University in Israel have been addressing the challenges presented by transdermal drug delivery (TDD). In order to penetrate the skin, the particles being administered must be no larger than 100 nanometers, they must be delivered directly to the target tissue, and their presence needs to be detected without an invasive biopsy.
They produced nanometric-sized diamond particles (nanodiamonds) and created a safe, laser-based optical method that quantifies nanodiamond penetration into the various layers of the skin, and also determines their location and concentration within body tissue in a non-invasive manner.
The newly developed nanodiamonds have also been shown to be effective antioxidants. This ensures that particles penetrating the body are both safe and therapeutic, as their chemical properties allow them to be coated with medication prior to their insertion into the body.
The optical method developed by the research team enables them to identify relative nanodiamond concentrations of particles in the different layers of skin through safe and non-invasive sensing based on a blue wavelength laser. Patients are briefly exposed to the blue laser beam, where an optical system creates a photograph-like 3D image through which optical changes in treated tissue can be extracted and compared to adjacent, untreated tissue using a specially-created algorithm.
“This is a significant development in dermatology and in optical engineering,” said Dror Fixler, Director of the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials at Bar-Ilan University. “It could open the door to developing drugs applied through the skin alongside modern cosmetic preparations using advanced nanotechnology.”